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4&E& 



SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY 



3 1223 90150 3756 




Book No. 



Accession 



979.4.-58 L322. 



251525 



NOT TO BE TAKEN FROM THE LIBRARY 



FORM 3427— 3M — 2" 39 



J 



HISTORY OF 

PLACER and NEVADA 
COUNTIES 

CALIFORNIA 



WITH 



biographical Sketches 



OF 



The heading Men and Women of the Counties W ho Have Been 

Identified with Their Growth and Development 

from the Early Days to the Present 



HISTORY BY 

W. B. LARDNER and M. J. BROCK 

ILLUSTRATED 
COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME 



HISTORIC RECORD COMPANY 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 
1924 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

HISTORICAL SECTION 

Old Brick Office and Jail, Built in 1857 page 32 

Old County Court-House, Built in 1854 page 32 

Placer County Pioneers. Reunion of 1890 page 42 

Auburn, as the Town Appeared in 1857 page 118 

"Eulalie," the "Auburn Poetess" page 138 

Governor Stanford's Old Home page 190 

Yankee Jims in the Early Days page 202 

Roseville Union High School page 292 

Nevada County Pioneers. Last Picture page 314 

Nevada City, as the Town Appeared in 1856 page 418 

Grass Valley, as the Town Appeared in 1852 page 424 

251525 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

(Numbers refer to pages.) 

List of Illustrations . 2 

Table of Contexts 3 

Index of Names 1 1 

Preface 19 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

CHAPTER I 

Placer County 33 

Location and boundaries — "Old Channel" and "New Channel" — Indefi- 
niteness of the boundary along the Lake Bigler trail (p. 34) — Agreement on 
boundary line in 1919 (p. 35) — Agreement on the Placer-Nevada line in 1907 — 
Sheridan and Riego — Old landmarks of the northwest corner of the county 
(p. 36). Rivers and Ravines: The American River and its branches — Bear 
River — Ravines or creeks. Other topographical features (p. 37) — Beginning 
of the modern period (p. 39). 

CHAPTER II 
The Pioneers 41 

The motives -that actuated the pioneers in their journey to the West — 
The American genius for self-government — Group picture of Placer County 
pioneers, reunion of 1890 (p. 42) — The true pioneers (p. 43) — The Donner 
Party — Truckee and the Council Bluffs Part}- (p. 45) — The after history of 
Truckee (p. 46) — The peril of the mountain passes — A tragic story: Why he 
did not write home (p. 48). 

CHAPTER III 

John A. Sutter 40 

Account of the vicissitudes of Sutter's journey to California — His rela- 
tions with the Indians — His kindly aid to the early immigrants (p. 50) — His 
losses through the discovery of gold and the adverse Supreme Court decision 
on the title to' his lands — His death — Shuck's account of the life of Sutter — 
Bryant's description of Sutter's Fort (p. 54) — A deed to land in New Hel- 
vetia (p. 58). 

CHAPTER IV 

John C. Fremont , 59 

Fremont's services as an explorer — "Fifty-four-forty or tight" — Fremont's 
first trip over the Sierra Nevada Mountains (p. 60) — Route of his trip over 
the divide in December, 1845 — Extracts from his memoirs of this trip — 
Fixing of the boundary between the United States and Canada by treaty. June 
15. 1846 — Incidents of an informal call at "Polk Place" (p. 62). 

CHAPTER V 

The Men Who Made Our First State Constitution 63 

Election of delegates and convening of the first State constitutional 
convention in Monterey. Sept. 1. 1849 — Classification of membership by age. 



4 TABLE OF CONTENTS 

place of nativity, period of residence in California, and personal occupation — 
Delegates of the Sacramento District (p. 64) — Law and order in California 
prior to admission to the Union — Political and economic situation in California 
at time of the convention (p. 65) — California's bold demand for admission to 
the Union without a preliminary Territorial government (p. 66) — North against 
South; the Tefft-Jones altercation — Elimination of the slavery question (p. 67) 
— Discussion of boundaries — Stringent financial provisions (p. 68) — The Great 
Seal of the State (p. 69) — General character of the constitution (p. 70) — 
Ratification of constitution and election of State Senators and Assemblymen, 
and Representatives to Congress, November 13, 1849 (p. 71) — Meeting of first 
legislature at San Jose, December 20, 1849 — Inauguration of first Governor 
and election of first United States Senators — The California block of marble 
in the Washington Monument — The meaning of Admission Day — Memorial 
and address to Congress (p. 72) — Why California was not sooner admitted as a 
State. 

CHAPTER VI 

James W. Marshall, and the Discovery of Gold. 72 

Gold-mining in California before 1848 — Marshall's account of the dis- 
covery — Particulars of the discovery as obtained from Weimer and published 
in the Coloma Argus in 1855 (p. 73) — Hittel's comments, published in 1861 
(p. 74) — Scant notice by the newspapers at the time of the discovery (p. 75) — 
Bidwell, and Bidwell's Bar — General Sutter's signed statement — Lieutenant 
Beale dispatched to Washington to bear news of the discovery to the govern- 
ment officials (p. 79) — The "psychology of the crowd" (p. 80) — Discrepancies 
in the various accounts of the discovery — Official date of discovery adopted 
by legislature (p. 81). 

CHAPTER VII 

Records and Reminiscences of the Pioneers 81 

General Sutter's notes — Diary of Julius Martin Nevins (p. 88) — Early 
letter of Julius Martin Nevins (p. 93) — The ignis fatuus of the early immi- 
grants to California, the Southern Oregon road (p. 96) — The automobilists' 
"shorter and better route" (p. 97) — Prices in 1849 — Occupations of early days 
(p. 100) — Newspaper advertisements — First election for courtty offices. May 26, ( 
1851 (p. 103) — Advertised letters- — Experiences of a freighter on the Forest 
Hill Divide (p. 104). James French; advance notes from a history of his life 
by his daughter: Account of his trip to California and pioneer experiences - 
in the West (p. 106) — Experiences with Indians (p. 108) — Gardening in 1858 
(p. 110) — A pet mule — Notes on Towns, cattle ranges, and grants (p. 111). 
Henry Thomas Holmes: Brief resume of his life in New York and California 
— Business operations while in Auburn (p. 113) — The lime industry in Placer 
County (p. 114) — Mr. Holmes' prominent connection with industrial devel- 
opment in Central California (p. 115) — Central Pacific Railroad. 

CHAPTER VIII 

Auburn 117 

The christening of Auburn; a mooted question, viewed in the light - of 
various sources of information (pp. 117-126) — View of Auburn, as the town 
appeared in 1857 (p. 118). Choice of the County Seat: Early relations of 
Auburn with Sutter County (p. 126) — Rivalry for the county seat — The first 
county officers — The first session of court (p. 127) — The court-house at Oro — 
Auburn becomes the county seat — Reminiscences of John Craig Boggs (p. 
131) — The historic bell on Placer County's court-house (p. 132). Early fires 
in Auburn (p. 133)— The "Auburn Poetess" (p. 137-141)— Portrait of "Eulalie," 
the "Auburn Poetess" (p. 138) — Article on "Eulalie, California's First Woman 
Poet," by Boutwell Dunlap (p. 139) — The letter that started things (p. 141) — 
First Memorial-Day services in Auburn (p. 145) — Grand Army posts and 
Relief Corps (p. 148). High Spots in the City's Progress:' Slow growth of 
the city, and early efforts to build up enterprises — "Dog days" (p. 149) — The 
old cannon (p. 150) — Music Hall — A Mexican celebration (p. 151) — The Opera 
House — The county court-house (p. 153) — Local effects of the railroad strike 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 5 

of 1894 (p. 154)— Odd Fellows' Hall (p. 156)— Masonic Temple (p. 157)— 
Auburn High School — Elementary schools of the city (p. 158) — City sewer 
system (p. 159) — City lighting system — Street improvements — The fire de- 
partment (p. 161) — Our water supply (p. 162). 

CHAPTER IX 

Rise and Decline of the Mining Industry 163 

The discovery of gold and the coming of the gold-seekers — Changes in 
the old mining camps. Gold Run: Description of the old town (p. 164) — A 
votary of Virgil, and of Bacchus (p. 166) — Charles Austin Bartlett — A Fourth 
of July celebration (p. 167) — A jaunt with a pioneer — Gold Run Cemetery 
(p. 169)— Effects of the Sawyer Decision — The father of Gold Run (p. 170)— A 
mining town pre-empted — Gold Run today (p. 171) — A school district with- 
out trustees (p. 172). ■ Old bars and mining camps on the American River 
(p. 173)— Post offices of Placer County in 1860 (p. 179)— Ditches and canals 
in the county before 1860 — Tunnels in Placer County up to 1860 (p. 180) — Saw- 
mills and flour-mills before 1860 — Turnpikes and bridges before 1860 (p. 181). 
Old Hydraulic Mining Methods: The undercurrent — Fluming the rivers (p. 
182) — High-water mark on the Middle Fork (p. 184). 

CHAPTER X 

Other Cities and Towns 185 

Iowa Hill: Its prominence in the early mining days — Another poet — 
"A Sierra Memory" (p. 186). Elizabethtown and Wisconsin Hill (p. 187) — 
Gold Hill. Forest Hill: Early mining and lumbering interests — Another 
historic old bell (p. 188). Illinoistown (p. 189) — Yorkville — Deadwood — Last 
Chance — View of Governor Stanford's old house at Michigan Bluff (p. 190) — 
Michigan Bluff (p. 191) — Damascus — Sunny South (p. 192) — Bath — Pine Grove 
— Virginia — Todd's Valley (p. 193) — Westville — Donner — Cisco — Blue Canon 
(p. 194) — Towle — Alta. Dutch Flat: Important lumbering and hydraulic min- 
ing interests — Fourth-of-July celebrations and home-comings (p. 195). Emi- 
grant Gap. Colfax: Its importance as a railroad junction — "Old Joe" (p. 
196). Clipper Gap (p. 197)— Hotaling— Bowman (p. 198). Penryn: Griffith 
Griffith and the Penryn granite quarries — Growth of the fruit industry — The 
Citrus Colony at Penryn (p. 199). Newcastle (p. 201) — Ophir. View of 
Yankee Jims, as the town appeared in the early days (p. 202). Yankee Jims: 
Early history of the town (p. 203) — Life at "Welcome Cottage" — Col. E. D. 
Baker (p. 204). Loomis (p. 205)— Rocklin (p. 206)— Applegate— Sheridan 
(p. 207) — Manzanita Grove. Lincoln: Its importance as a farming and fruit- 
raising center (p. 208) — Early history and present prosperity — Discovery and 
development of its clay and coal deposits (p. 209) — Gladding, McBean and 
Company's Clay Products Plant (p. 210). Roseville: Old Roseville, or the 
"Junction" (p. 211) — Modern Roseville (p. 213). 

CHAPTER XI 

Lake Tahoe and Other Resorts 218 

Routes to the county's lakes and pleasure resorts — Federal and State aid 
in the improvement of the highways over the mountains — Chief resorts along 
the routes (p. 219) — Lake Tahoe (p. 221) — The fight for improved conditions 
at the lake (p. 222)— Placer County's "Big Trees" (p. 224)— Chamber of 
Commerce's first "pilgrimage" to the grove, August 14, 1920. 

CHAPTER XII 

Fruit-Growing and Fruit-Shipping 228 

Citrus Fruits in Placer County: The Citrus Belt — The citrus fair of 
1886 — Pioneer citrus orchardists (p. 230) — Placer County Citrus Fair in Los 
Angeles — The citrus fair at Auburn in 1892 (p. 232). Deciduous fruits in 
Placer County: -Newcastle as a fruit-packing and fruit-shipping center (p. 
233) — A concession that aided the fruit-grower in Placer County (p. 236). 
The Olive in Placer County: Suitability of climatic and soil conditions for 
olive culture — Pioneer olive planters — An unfortunate start — Present status and 
outlook of the industry (p. 237). 



6 TABLE OF CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XIII 

Criminal Record of Placer County 238 

Justice in the early days — First trial held in Auburn, in 1850 (p. 239). 
Noted Crimes and Criminals: Mountaineer and lowlander (p. 243) — Condi- 
tions contributory to crime (p. 244) — The murder of Montgomery — A jail- 
delivery and lynching (p. 246) — "The Pirate of the Placers" (p. 247) — Tom 
Bell (p. 252) — A brutal triple murder by Chinese (p. 253) — A vicious murder 
by Indians (p. 254) — A train-wrecking of the early eighties (p. 255) — Hidden 
mystery of a well (p. 256). 

CHAPTER XIV 

Bench and Bar of Placer County 259 

A "rattling good bar" — Brief notes on the lives of members of the county 
bar from the early days to the present time — Other names on the registered 
list (p. 271) — Attorneys registered in Placer County up to 1882 (p. 272) — 
Attorneys admitted to Supreme Court (p. 274) — Judicial of Placer County — 
District attorneys of Placer County. 

CHAPTER XV 

Public Officials 275 

Senators from Placer County — Members of Assembly from Placer County 
(p. 276) — County officers of Placer County for the year 1924 (p. 277) — Munici- 
pal officers of cities in Placer County (p. 278). 

CHAPTER XVI 

Banks of Placer County 279 

Early banking by express companies and merchants — Absence of banking 
regulations — Banking of gold-dust — State regulation — Brief account of State 
banks organized in Placer County (p. 280) — Present banks of the county 
(p. 281) — Other financial institutions — Development of the various resources of 
the county — Officers and directors of various Placer County banks. 

CHAPTER XVII 

'Pacific Service" in Placer County - 282 

The Pacific Gas & Electric Company's system an outgrowth of the 
early hydraulic-mining ditches — Conflict of the early water companies, and 
resulting consolidation of their interests — Development of water-storage by the 
old South Yuba Water Company (p. 283) — Development of horticulture after 
cessation of hydraulic mining, and consequent merger of the South Yuba 
Water Company and the Birdsall Company — Reconstruction of the Board- 
man Ditch — Development of hydro-electric power-generation by the Central 
California Electric Company — Acquisition of the South Yuba Water Company 
by the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, and subsequent development of stor- 
age reservoirs and power plants (p. 284). 

CHAPTER XVIII 

Public Schools and Free Libraries — 286 

Elementary schools in the late fifties — Placer County schools in 1881 — 
Present organization of the elementary schools (p. 287). Our High Schools: 
Placer Union High School (p. 289)— Roseville Union High School (p. 291)— 
View of Roseville Union High School (p. 292)— Lincoln High School (p. 294). 
Our Free Libraries: The Auburn Free Library — The Roseville Free Library 
■ — The Lincoln Free Library (p. 295). 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 7 

CHAPTER XIX 
Societies and Clubs 295 

The Tahoe-Club — Placer County Country Club (p. 296). Auburn Im- 
provement Club — Roseville Women's Improvement Club — Women's Improve- 
ment Club of Rocklin (p. 297)— Wednesday Club of Applegate (p. 298)— The 
Red Cross Society of Auburn. 

CHAPTER XX 

World War Record of Placer County 299 

Administration of the Selective Service Law: Choice of the local 
Exemption Board — Organization and work of the board — Compensation for 
services on board (p. 301) — Classification of registrants — The call to military 
service (p. 302) — Morale of the men (p. 303) — Cooperation of the public (p. 
304). Biographies of Board Members: William B. Hotchkiss — William 
David Ingram (p. 305) — Harry Everett Butler. Lists of Volunteers and Selec- 
tive Service Men: Source and revision of the lists — Names of the enlisted 
(p. 306) — Names of the inducted (p. 307). Student Army Training Camp: 
List of Placer County entrants (p. 310). Somewhere in France: Overseas 
soldiers, classified by towns. Casualty list (p. 312) — Honor roll (p. 313). 
Last picture of Nevada County's early pioneers (314). 



HISTORY OF NEVADA COUNTY 
Introduction 315 

CHAPTER I 

The Donner Party 317 

The scene of the "Tragedy of the Sierras" — Organization and person- 
nel of the Donner Party — Early glimpses of the journey — Fatal choice of 
the Hastings Cut-off — Snow-bound at Donner Lake (p. 318) — Charles T. 
Stanton and the "Forlorn Hope Party" — John Rhodes, and relief from 
Fort Sutter (p. 319) — Capt. Reasin P. Tucker and the first relief party — 
James F. Reed and the second relief party — "Starved Camp" (p. 320) — The 
third relief party — Heroism of Mrs. George Donner — The fourth relief party. 

CHAPTER II 

Nevada County 321 

Organization and Early History of County: Act of May 18, 1851 — The 
earliest settlements — Early ditches of the county (p. 322). An account of 
the Early Mining Settlements (p. 324): Newtown (p. 325) — Kentucky Flat — 
Eureka, or Graniteville — Woolsey's Flat and Snow Point — French Corral — 
Sweetland's — Cherokee — Little York (p. 326) — Moore's Flat, or Clinton — 
Orleans Flat — Alpha — Omega — Red Dog, or Brooklyn — Walloupa (p. 327) — 
San Juan — Nevada City — Grass Valley (p. 335) — Rough and Ready (p. 340) — 
Social and economic conditions in the fifties (p. 341). The Modern Era 
(p. 342): Electrical development in Nevada County — Nevada County's min- 
ing inventions (p. 344)— The Nevada County Promotion Committee (p. 345 I — 
Fauna of Nevada County (p. 346) — Climate. 

CHAPTER III 

Gold Mining in the Grass Valley District 347 

Exhaustion of placer deposits and development of lode mining — The 
discovery of gold at Gold Mountain. Mine Regulations of Nevada County 
in 1852 (p. 348): Regulations of December 20, 1852 — Mining laws of Lafayette 
Hill (p. 349). Progress of Operations at Grass Valley (p. 3?H): Failure of 
early quartz-mining ventures — Successful development of the Eureka, Idaho. 
Empire, and North Star Mines (p. 351) — Production of gold-quartz mines, 



8 TABLE OF CONTENTS 

1850-1918 (p. 352)— Cost of production (p. 353)— Depth of mines, and de- 
velopments on the lower levels. Topography of the District (p. 355): Relief 
and drainage. Structural and Historical Geology: General discussion — Fissure 
systems; classification and description (p. 356) — Vein systems (p. 358) — Altera- 
tion of wall rocks (p. 359) — Outcrops — Form and structure of veins (p. 360) — 
Relation to country rock (p. 361) — Ore-shoots; form, surface enrichment, 
and barren zones — Tenor of the ore (p. 362). Ores of the Grass Valley 
District (p. 363): Gangue minerals — Metallic minerals. Bibliography. 

CHAPTER IV 

Agriculture in Nevada County 364 

The beginnings of agriculture in Nevada County — Gleanings from asses- 
sors' records — The thermal belt and citrus culture — -Agriculture's early de- 
pendence on mining; temporary curtailment of agricultural production after 
the cessation of hydraulic mining (p. 365) — The rise of horticulture; pioneers 
in the horticultural development of the county — The master key to potential 
production (p. 368). 

CHAPTER V 

The Nevada County Farm Bureau 368 

Origin and Early Work: The Penn Valley Farm Center — Adoption of 
constitution and by-laws, and selection of temporary officers (p. 369) — Organ- 
ization of the Grass Valley National Farm Loan Association — Discussion 
of irrigation, cow-testing, and publicity — Permanent organization, and appoint- 
ment of farm adviser. The Nevada Irrigation District (p. 370) : Survey of 
the watersheds and filing of applications for water-rights — Organization and 
work of the Yuba-Nevada-Sutter Water and Power Association — The suc- 
cessful campaign for the organization of the district (p. 371) — Favorable 
terms of the contract with the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (p. 372) — 
Bright prospects for agricultural development. Farm Bureau Departments: 
The Cow-Testing Department; nature of its -work — The Live-Stock Depart- 
ment; pooled marketing ventures, and control of predatory animals. Cooper- 
ation with State and National associations (p. 373). 

CHAPTER VI 

Noted Highwaymen and Highway Robberies . 373 

Noted highwaymen of the section — Joaquin Murietta; an account of his 
career of crime — Tom Bell, the "Gentleman Highwayman" (p. 374) — Organ- 
ization and depredations of the "Tom Bell Gang" of desperadoes (p. 375) — 
Capture and death of Bell (p. 376) — Jim Webster — Other highway robberies; 
account of the robbing of the North San Juan and Washington stages, and 
the pursuit and death of the bandits. 

CHAPTER VII 

The Nevada County Bar 378 

The bar, and early mining litigation — Early-day members; brief comment 
on their lives, including interesting anecdotes — Members of a later day (p. 
384) — Present members (p. 385) — Trials before "Judge Lynch" (p. 386) — 
Trials in the early justices' courts (p. 388) — Technicalities and testimony 
(p. 396) — High standing of the Nevada County bar (p. 399). 

CHAPTER VIII 
Public Officials 400 

District judges, county judges, district attorneys, and county clerks, 1850- 
1879 (p. 400) — Superior Court judges, district attorneys, and county clerks, 
1880-1923 (pp. 400, 401) — Court reporters, sheriffs, county treasurers, and 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 9 

county surveyors, 1850-1922 (pp. 401-403) — County assessors, superintendents 
of schools, coroners, and public administrators, 1850-1923 (pp. 403, 404) — 
Members of the Assembly from Nevada County (p. 405) — State Senators 
from Nevada County (p. 406) — Present county officers. 

CHAPTER IX 

Schools of the County L 407 

Public and Private Schools up to 1880: State legislation — Early schools 
of the county (p. 408) — Early schools in Nevada City — Early schools in 
Grass Valley (p. 409) — Early schools in North San Juan (p. 410) — Statistics 
of the schools prior to 1880 (p. 411) — School districts of the county — High 
schools; personnel of faculties, daily attendance and total enrollment, and total 
costs and expenses (p. 412) — County and city boards of education; present 
personnel. 

CHAPTER X 

Journalism in Nevada County 413 

The Morning Union, of Grass Valley and Nevada City — The Truckee 
reprint of the Auburn Journal — The Nevada Journal, 1851 — The Young Ameri- 
can, 1853— The Nevada Democrat, 1854 — The Morning Transcript, 1860— The 
Daily Gazette, 1864 (p. 414)— The Tri-Weekly Herald, 1878— The Telegraph, 
1853, pioneer paper of Grass Valley — The Grass Valley National, 1855 — 
The Daily Union, 1864 (p. 415)— The Daily Tidings and The Tidings- 
Telegraph — The Evening Telegraph, 1889— The Daily Miner and The Miner- 
Transcript— The Republican, 1871— The. Foothill Weekly Tidings, 1874 — The 
North San Juan Star, 1857— The Hydraulic Press, 1858— The San Juan Press, 
1860— The Phantom (p. 416)— The War Club, 1872— The San Juan Times, 
1873— The Independent, 1878— The Truckee Tribune, 1869— The Truckee Re- 
publican, 1872 — The Meadow Lake Sun, 1866. 

CHAPTER XI 

Cities and Towns 417 

Nevada City: Early history of the city (pp. 417-420) — View of Nevada 
City, as the town appeared in 1856 (p. 418) — Nevada City today (p. 420) — 
Parks and Resorts — Churches of Nevada City (p. 421) — Nevada City Miner's 
Foundry (p. 422) — Nevada City Fire Department — City officials — Nevada City 
Free Library. View of Grass Valley, as the town appeared in 1852 (p. 424). 
Grass Valley (p. 425): Brief description of the city — Grass Valley Pioneers — 
Members of the Grass Valley Pioneer Club (p. 426) — Destructive fires — Grass 
Valley Fire Department (p. 428) — Grass Valley today — Grass Valley High 
School (p. 430)— Memorial Park (p. 431)— Nevada County Bank (p. 433)— 
The First National Bank of Grass Valley (p. 434). Spenceville: Location 
and climate — Early operations at Spenceville's copper mines — Imperial Paint 
& Copper Company. Truckee (p. 435) — Meadow Lake (p. 436) — Hobart 
(p. 437). 

CHAPTER XII 

Fraternal and Benevolent Organizations 438 

Humane work of the early lodges. Secret and Benevolent Societies 
of Grass Valley: Grass Valley Miners' Union, No. 90 — Union Encampment, 
No. 11— Esther Rebekah Lodge, No. 9, I. O. O. F. (p. 439)— Ceanotha Coun- 
cil, No. 9, Degree of Pocahontas — Olympic Temple, No. 10, Pythian Sisters — 
Other secret and benevolent societies, as listed in 1895 (p. 440). Secret and 
Benevolent Societies of Nevada City: Nevada Commandery No. 6, K. T. — 
Names and officers of societies in 1895 (p. 441). Secret and Benevolent 
Societies of Other Towns in 1895: Societies of North Bloomfield — Societies 
of North San Juan (p. 442) — Fraternal orders of Truckee. 



10 TABLE OF CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XIII 

Military Organizations and Service Roll Call 442 

Organization and officers of 5th Infantry Regiment, N. G. C, 1860. 
Companies, with Officers: Grass Valley Union Guard, Company A — Nevada 
Light Guard, Company B — Little York Union Guard, Company C, of You 
Bet (p. 443) — Auburn Grays, Company D, of Auburn — Howell Zouaves, 
Company E, of Grass Valley — Pacific Guard, Company F, of Dutch Flat — 
Yankee Jims Rifles, Company G, of Yankee Jims — Yuba Light Infantry, 
Company H, of Camptonville. Soldiers of the Spanish-American War: Com- 
pany I, 2nd Battalion; list of officers and privates. Soldiers of the World War. 



BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW 

Pioneers, Past and Present 449 

Sketches of the lives of leading men and women of the county, who have 
been identified with its growth and development from the earliest days of its 
history down to the present time, illustrated by numerous life-like portraits, 
the work of skilled artists. (See Index of Names, pp. 11-17.) 



INDEX OF NAMES 

(Numbers refer to pages.) 



A 

Adams, Ransom 1170 

Ahart, George P 888 

Alexson, Nick 1250 

Allen, George 1248 

Allen, Louis B 1111 

Alspaugh, Benjamin 1008 

Ames, Edward 683 

Ames, Louis 545 

Ammon, Frederick W 889 

Amnion, Max W 1004 

Anderson, Hon. Alden 503 

Anderson. August 1 120 

Anderson, C. W 1132 

Anderson, Clarence Berkley 1132 

Anderson, Mrs. Lutie M 1132 

Anderson, Ora Dawson 1146 

Andrieux, Joseph B 1139 

Arbogast, John Peter 594 

Armes, Fred P 1174 

Armstrong, Elmer Holland 587 

Aronson, Sam 1242 

Atkins, Edward S 783 

Atkinson, Benjamin F 1197 

Atwell, William E 954 

Austin, Ella M 479 

Avery, Ira 567 

Avery, Mrs. Seney 567 

Ayres, William M 1169 

B 

Baird, Fred E 1068 

Balmer, Mrs. Belle Bolton 1203 

Banbrock, William E 661 

Bancroft, William 543 

Bannon, Jane E 1168 

Barieau, Jerome E 562 

Barker, C. Herbert 660 

Barkhaus, Fred W., Jr 821 

Barnes. Lucerne B 1175 

Barnes, Paul D 796 

Barnicott, John W 945 

Bartlett, Charles A 700 

Barton, Ada Vail 797 

Barton, Orren L 797 

Baxter, Joseph Quincy 1024 

Beaser, Martha M 787 

Beaser, Percv McLeod 787 

Beck, Frank X 1218 

Bell, Carl G 709 

Bell, Frank R 703 

Bellows. William H 781 

Bennallack, Frank W 1241 

Bennallack, Richard J 1203 

Bennetts, Joseph A., Sr 1159 

Berkner, H. A 1251 

Berriman, Thomas H 1094 

Berry, John Hamer 1230 

Beyer, Mrs. Florence A 1162 

Bickford, John Herbert 951 



Bieber, John 1 160 

Bieth, Joseph 1071 

Bigelow, Ashley S 831 

Bilderback, Charles D 817 

Birdsall, Ernest Stratton 647 

Birkett, Joseph 747 

Bissett, James E 1144 

Bitner, Cyrus C 479 

Bivens, Samuel C 1213 

Blight, Joseph T 1146 

Bolton, Daniel J 765 

Bonivert, Edward William 1212 

Boom, Guy A 758 

Borba, Antonio 1224 

Boswell, Herbert Elsworth 777 

Bowman, Harrv Hoisington 998 

Bowman, Sherwood Hall 998 

Bradbury, Mrs. Anna 1216 

Brady, John P 1170 

Bradv, Thomas B 1231 

Brainerd, Charles G 845 

Brand, Carl Jonas 633 

Branstetter, Henry Martin 963 

Bree, James M 1149 

Bree, Richard J 1 149 

Bree, Thomas Edgar 1235 

Bridges, Edwin David 657 

Brill, F. R., & Son 558 

Brindejon Brothers 768 

Brindejon, Louis 768 

Brock, Mrs. Elizabeth 873 

Brock, Michael John 873 

Brockington, Charles A 649 

Brown, George E 1 127 

Brown, George H 651 

Broyer, Al H 1041 

Brundage, Guy W 705 

Buck Brothers 795 

Buffington, J. M 562 

Buffington, Mrs. J. M 562 

Buffington, Rolfe 563 

Burdusis, Sam 1237 

Burns, Miss Irene A 541 

Burns, Isaac Leroy 715 

Burns, William J 656 

Burritt, Franklin 1252 

Burt, Samuel Blaine 1 192 

Burton, Alfred H 1173 

Burtscher, Frank G 827 

Busby, Nevada Carson 1244 

Bush, Edward 1056 

Butler, Harry E 581 

Butto, Antonio 1252 

Butts, William G 965 

C 

Cadman, George 1177 

Cameron, James A 1071 

Campbell-Walker, Arthur H 975 

Candlish, George 634 



12 



INDEX OF NAMES 



Carl, William 899 

Casey, John 1094 

Cassidy, Bert A 1171 

Cassidy, Fred F 1147 

Cavanna, A 1 143 

Celio, William B 1003 

Chamberlain, Louis Lee 793 

Chamberlain, Theodore L 793 

Chandler, Hon. Augustus L 460 

Chevallier, Marceau F 1221 

Christensen, Christian P 905 

Church, Munson Bernard 1000 

Chute, Arthur Torrens 977 

Clark, Frederick 1099 

Clark, Mrs. Rachel D 591 

Clark, Willis Albert 591 

Cleary, George J 1061 

Coe, H. H 1253 

Cohen, Nathan J 1031 

Cole, George 1198 

Colfax School for the Tuberculous, 910 

Cook, Frank 935 

Coombs, Manlie W 989 

Cooper, Miss Alice E 546 

Cooper, Herbert M 824 

Cooper, John M 538 

Coppin, S. M., Jr 1126 

Corcoran, Owen 761 

Cornish, Fred G 754 

Correa, Joseph King 585 

Cortopassi Brothers 1178 

Cortopassi, Louis A 1081 

Cosgrove, Frank E 1109 

Coughlan, Michael J 1175 

Coughlin, Miles D 664 

Coulton, William H 823 

Coyan, George 729 

Craig, Edward Lewis 1062 

Crase, George Frederick 1176 

Crispin, Thomas H 1176 

Crocker. Mrs. Julia A 645 

Crofts, Elmer Gordon 1051 

Crosby, F. C 888 

Crowder, Francis William 738 

Crown, E. H 686 

Culver, John W 704 

Cunningham, James Andrew 575 

Cunningham, Walter Chesley 1116 

Curnow, Horace A 832 

Curnow, John A 534 

Curtiss, Solon McKeen 998 

D 

Dahneke, Lena 717 

Dailey, Daniel Albert 1095 

Dalbey, Ella E 677 

Dalbey, Joseph B 677 

Daniels, Henry 1177 

Davanes, P. A 1113 

Davis, Edward Joshua 1236 

Davis, Effie M 1246 

Davis, Eliza Keturah 731 

Davis, James Truman 994 

Davis, John Lee 565 

Davis, William T 666 

Day, James Jasper 961 

Decater, Charles W 851 

De Golyer, Mrs. Annie C 833 

De Golyer, Joseph Baldwin 833 

Desmond, Jeremiah John 1178 

Dippel, William 612 

Dixon, Mrs. Celia 891 



Dixon, George Lincoln 609 

Dixon, Joseph 891 

Dixon, William H 1200 

Donaldson, Mrs. Nancy E 1015 

Donovan, Daniel 643 

Donovan, John T 901 

Ducotey, Augustin 627 

Dudley, Edgar B 796 

Dudley, George Edward 913 

Dudley, James F 1233 

Dulmaine, Adolph 776 

Dunton, Elmer D 1254 

Durfee, Walter F 733 

Duryea, Isaac Newton . 847 

Durvea, Lewis A 570 

Dyke, George M 699 

E 

Eames, Nahum 1164 

Eckhardt, Ernest F 811 

Eddy, William L 1214 

Eden, Miss Ada P 989 

Eden, John H 1229 

Eich, Warren T 982 

Engle, John F 775 

Englebright, Harry L 946 

Englebright, Hon. William F 828 

Eveleth, Robert Howard 1239 

Evenden, Robert G 1084 

F 

Fanning, J. L 1122 

Farlow, Fred L 1231 

Farnham, Mrs. Cordelia 453 

Fereva, Antone 1107 

Ferguson, John A 952 

Fisher, George H 1084 

Flaridon, Thomas 488 

Fleming, Albert C 1081 

Fleming, Arthur S 1193 

Fletcher. Henry D 1134 

Flint, Arthur E 930 

Fodrini, Joseph 1218 

Fogus, Charles A 1015 

Fontz, John 1216 

Foote, Arthur Burling 1117 

Foote, Arthur DeWint 720 

Ford, George M 1074 

Ford, Thomas S 464 

Ford, Verne Mason 611 

Forster, Edward Henry 1142 

Foster, George William 1180 

Fowler, Mrs. Bell Fagg 573 

Fowler, Eugene F 960 

Fowler, J. E 1167 

Fowler, James Edwin 807 

Francis, Joseph M 471 

Frank, Joseph A 652 

Franzini, Maurice S 1139 

Franzini, Pompey 946 

Frates, Joseph S 1 138 

Freeman, Abraham C 1033 

Freeman, Mrs. Aldana E 895 

Freeman, Henry Millard 895 

Freeman, Mrs. Josephine 1037 

Freeman, William H 561 

French, Albert Eugene.. 525 

French, James : 866 

Frey, Henry A 1168 

Fruge, George C 1202 

Fuller, Edwin E 1112 

Fuller, Theodore R 708 



INDEX OF NAMES 



13 



G 

Garland, William T 809 

Gassaway, Edward 1092 

Gassaway, Joseph H 547 

Gatt, George E 980 

Gaus, Charles C 901 

Gautier, W. J 1123 

Gaylord, Edwin Clark 1038 

Geach, James 979 

Geach, Thomas Richard 1079 

Genasci, William B 1209 

Geni, Giuseppe 1141 

George Brothers 577 

George, Ernest 577 

George, Francis L 577 

George, John H 577 

German, Henry 1206 

Gietzen, Henry 1047 

Gietzen, Peter 1047 

Gilbert, Jacob 768 

Giles, J. S 773 

Gilkev. Arthur E 1129 

Gill, Arthur L 769 

Girton, Charles W 1228 

Gladding, Albert James 449 

Gladding, Augustus Lemuel 1029 

Gladding, Mrs. Carrie A 451 

Gladding, Charles 452 

Gladding, Charles 1031 

Goetz, Louis Martin 1 135 

Gordon, Harry Clarence 1131 

Goss, P. Bontecou 863 

Gowling, Joseph 886 

Graham, William K 1198 

Grant, Mrs. Mary Helen 538 

Graser, Herman 1 824 

Green, Willis, Sr 730 

Greitman, John George 894 

Grenfell, William J 994 

Gridley, Haines 511 

Griffith, Thomas 1075 

Grissel, George Andrew 1123 

Grouches, Gus 1115 

Guenther, Charles 1 180 

Gum, Elmer H 476 

Guptill, George W 1225 

H 

Haenny, John 859 

Haennv, Mrs. Kate 859 

Haffey, Edward W 1148 

Haines, George W 755 

Haines, William M 617 

Hall, Benjamin 666 

Hallett, Herbert H 1160 

Hamaker, John Bates '. 1183 

Hamaker, Sarah Frances 1183 

Hamilton, General Jo 468 

Hanson, T. W 1136 

Harris, Charles A 1077 

Harris, Thomas M 1077 

Hartsock, Luzern H 663 

Hartung, Henry W 1078 

Hasapis, James P 1230 

Haskins, Frank F 741 

Hawkins, John 531 

Hawkins, Pit 1179 

Hawley, Percy G 1210 

Haves, Mrs. Rosie 473 

Havt, Walter Dudley 622 

Heath, Fenlon E 1063 



Henderson, Eliza J 1181 

Henny, Mrs. Bertha 1024 

Henny, Christian 712 

Henny, John 903 

Hepburn, George C 762 

Herbert. Thomas Luther 812 

Heryford, Elisha Brown 914 

Hewitt, Mrs. Emelia 819 

Hewitt, James Corbin 819 

Hislop, Colin B 597 

Hogle, Milton W 1249 

Holland, Joseph C 785 

Holmes, Ainsley M 1196 

Holmes, Charles 1 1114 

Holt, Mrs. Eliza 653 

Holt, Elizabeth Jane 993 

Holt, Mrs. Elizabeth Le Maistre... 1023 

Holt, Henry 993 

Holt, John 463 

Holt, John H 1226 

Holt, William 653 

Holtz, Charles E 1126 

Hooper, Frank W 1219 

Hotchkiss, W. B 604 

Howard, Robert J 1119 

Howcroft, D. A 1124 

Howell, Francis H 637 

Howell, Robert B 1105 

Huckins, Henry W 1213 

Hunter, John J 1021 

Hunter, Thomas Fraser 892 

Huntley, Lathrop 1076 

Hustler, William H 671 

Hyatt, James William 1006 

I 

Ingram, Hon. Thomas 513 

Ivanac, Marco 1143 

J 

Jacobs, Walter F 613 

James, Elizabeth Grace 1089 

Jansen, Mrs. Emma 841 

Jansen, H. P 727 

Jansen, Walter 841 

Jasper, Frederick William 1227 

Jennings, Lloyd W 638 

Tensen, Niels 1 197 

jenson, Edwin G 1096 

Johansen, Marius F 1104 

Johnson, Andrew 626 

Johnson, Christian 1067 

Johnson, Levi B 1 182 

Johnson, Nicholas P 1047 

Johnston, Mrs. Alice K 1220 

[ohnston, Charles R 1220 

Jones, Alvon T 1194 

Jones, Mrs. Arabelle Hortense 623 

lones, Austin Lewis 623 

Jones, Charles H. 1114 

Jones, George Louis 1088 

Jones, John T 1204 

Jordan, Thomas T 1153 

Joslin, Mrs. Emily May 549 

K 

Kanner, Harry M 1152 

Kaseberg, William J 1025 

Katzer. Stephen M 711 

Keasbcy, Keith W 1073 

Keehner, Charles 630 



14 



INDEX OF NAMES 



Keehner^ W. C 948 

Keena, Charles 535 

Keena, Mrs. Frances J 535 

Kelley, Joseph C 1115 

Kellogg, Charles Henry 497 

Kellogg, George Douglass 498 

Kellogg, George Huntington 839 

Kellogg, Mrs. Millie E. (Barber) ... 497 

Kelly, Lynne 829 

Kelly, Mrs. Mary A 527 

Kelly, Maurice A 527 

Kemper, Paul L 1171 

Kempster, Charles 1166 

Kendrick, Michael 1206 

Kenison, Edgar J 600 

Kennedy, David M 1108 

King, Annie C 629 

King, L. Leroy 692 

King, Lewis Lerov 629 

Kinney, L. J 871 

Kipp, Byron S 1234 

Kirby, Daniel 1183 

Kitts, Henry E 1087 

Kitts, James Earl 1204 

Kneebone, Andrew Reed 976 

Kneebone, Joseph R 1001 

Knoff, John H 1154 

Krause, Fred John 1119 

Krieger, Arthur 1 134 

Krieger, C. H 1134 

L 

Laing, James Adams 638 

Langenbach, J. A , 828 

Langstaff, Mathew C 751 

Lardner, Jennie M 516 

Lardner, N. B 523 

Lardner, William B 515 

Lardner, William B., Jr 715 

Lavallee, F. X 684 

Law, Albert 1055 

Leak, Harold P 948 

Leak, Herbert N 1049 

Leak, L. W 1240 

LeDuc, Joseph Alonzo 775 

LeDuc, Louis 779 

Lee, William G 750 

Leggett, Elvin Austin 1243 

Leichter, Edward E 1093 

Leiter, S. Lee 1091 

Leontos, Harry 881 

Lewis, William R 804 

Libel, Mikel 792 

Lilley, John S 1131 

Lincoln Clay Products Co 1113 

Lindroth, John 589 

Lininger, Michael David 491 

Lininger, William Ervin 789 

Livingston, John A 1199 

Locher, Edward W 920 

Logan, Mrs. C. M 1079 

Lohman, Adam F 1213 

Lohse, Goff W 554 

Loney, Thomas 598 

Loney, Mrs. Thomas 598 

Looney, John J 1090 

Loutzenheiser, John G 531 

Lowell, Marshall Z 681 

Lowell, Orrin J 681 

Lowell, William H 788 

Lower, William H 1184 



Lucas, Charles 1208 

Lukens, G. E 641 

Lukens, S. Guy 641 

Lyles, A. W 877 

Mc 

McAulay, Mrs. Anna Mary 1060 

McAulav, George 509 

McBean, Peter McGill 1056 

McCartney, David 1066 

McCleary, John B 1201 

McCleary, William James 1201 

McCormack, James C 1185 

McCormick, James D 696 

McCracken, Charles T 987 

McCuen, Charles H 776 

McCullough, Frank Edward 877 

McCullough, Joseph J 898 

McGuire, Clayton P 1109 

McGuire, Michael E 1247 

McGuire, Thomas H 1086 

McKim, Mrs. Mary Ellen 639 

McLellan, Charles R 959 

McNamara, Mrs. Mary L 1227 

M 

Mackay, J. Gordon 670 

Maginn, Patrick H 579 

Magner, C. P 1065 

Major, Edward Newton 771 

Major, John Newton 643 

Manning, James C 1165 

Maring, Albert 1185 

Marsh, Sherman W 1152 

Marshall, Jophie A 997 

Martel, Alexander P 1220 

Martin, William Henry 854 

Marvin, Fred 555 

Marvin, Mary B 555 

Marzen, Joseph, Jr 433 

Marzen, Joseph, Sr 473 

Mason, Cyrus L 1137 

Mason, Daniel 559 

Matteson, David Edwin 1104 

Mattio, Joseph Lorenzo 1217 

Mazzoni, Louis 938 

Mehl, Carl E 985 

Mellinger, Arthur C 1103 

Meservey, Eugene B 1205 

Meservey, William E 615 

Meyers, Fred 488 

Miller, Chris J 762 

Mitchell, James 855 

Mitchell, William K 652 

Moe, H. E 1117 

Moeller, Mrs. Edith 659 

Moiles, Theodore D 1221 

Moore, Mrs. N. L 955 

Moran, John E 1086 

Morehouse, Charles A 1099 

Morelli, Frank C 849 

Morgan, David E 475 

Morgan, Luke Ferdinand 1098 

Morton, Wilbur Vincent 1068 

Moulton, William E 1085 

Mount St. Mary's Academy 885 

Mourier, William E 1236 

Mowrer, John Walter 832 

Mulcahy, Thomas 1238 

Mulligan, Thomas 1032 

Mundt, Amiel D 1070 



INDEX OF NAMES 



15 



Murchie. Clarence R 680 

Musser, Airs. Aileen S 937 

Musser, B. C 937 

Musso, Fedel Thomas 929 

N 

Nagle, Tohn Lawrence 708 

Neely. Charles Henry 939 

Neff, Fred G. ....... . 991 

Nelson, Benjamin 1112 

Nelson, Nels T 1012 

Nelson, Thure N 719 

Netz, Ludwig 973 

Newman, John M 1006 

Nicholls, John 943 

Nicholls, Robert J 620 

Nichols, Henry B 642 

Nixon, Hon. George Stuart 1011 

Nixon. Rudolph M 815 

Noell, Richard 1003 

Noia, Jess F 959 

Nolan, Thomas J 997 

Nolte, Henry C 957 

Norton, Daniel F 616 

O 

Ocker, Charles A 1100 

O'Connor, Joseph F 805 

O'Connor, Mrs. Sarah 1149 

Odell, Marel L 1167 

Odell, Warren E 1167 

Oliver, George Davidson 906 

O'Reilly, Rev. Patrick 1145 

Orzalli, Mrs. Margaret 696 

Osborne, Frederick Charles 821 

Othet, Thomas 603 

Owen, Harry Rowland 967 

P 

Pardini, Louis 1234 

Parrish, Edward W 1130 

Partridge, William S 925 

Patterson, G F 1247 

Pedler, Micah 1061 

Peers, Robert A 909 

Pekuri, Oscar W 1110 

Pemberton, George F 1069 

Penhall. Bennet Ackerly 519 

Penhall, Mrs. Gertrude Leah Barker 520 

Perkins. George 676 

Perkins, Newton Dana 1083 

Perkins, W. Dana 907 

Perry, Frank E 1091 

Perrv, Mrs. Mary Emilv 1186 

Peters, Mrs. Mary 547 

Peterson. Peter C 670 

Pettichord, Harry A 1 107 

Pfosi. Edmund 872 

Pgoetz. Otto L 801 

Philbrick, George 546 

Phillips, H. C. 1097 

Pickering, George H 1 166 

Pilliard, Alfred A 865 

Pilliard, Edward 1159 

Pilliard, Henry 607 

Pingree, Parker P 1073 

Pittman, Ernest L 813 

Pittman, L 813 

Plans, Charles H 980 

Poggetto. Victor D 1207 

Porter, DeWitt 892 

Predom, Moses J 1128 



Prewett, James E 467 

Prewett, William James 583 

Prina, Cesare 1249 

Prisk, Samuel Henry 1 144 

Proctor, Richard Roosevelt 1250 

Provis, Frank 684 

R 

Randolph, John Hayes 707 

Rasmussen, Andy 884 

Rasmussen, Boline 735 

Rasmussen, Christian 735 

Rasmussen, James 1208 

Ray, John Andrew Jackson 522 

Reading, Abram B 1172 

Rector. Edwin Merritt 1072 

Rector, Gilbert James 1254 

Reed, Mrs. Caroline 483 

Reed, Charles 789 

Rees, Stephen 795 

Reeves, I. J 1140 

Reinhart, Joseph, Jr 911 

Reynolds, Augustus E 759 

Richards, William G 704 

Richardson, Jessie Kellogg 700 

Richardson, Oliver Perry 879 

Richerson, Lee 817 

Richter, Christian F 612 

Ricksecker, O. H 1045 

Ridinger, Reuben Russell 995 

Riehl, Amos D 1121 

Robie, Edwin Towle 485 

Robinson, Alexander Kelly 1075 

Robinson, Guy V 1214 

Robson, Andrew A 542 

Robson, Deborah 608 

Robson, William Garfield 481 

Rodgers, Mrs. Susan Ellen 689 

Rogers, Mrs. Minna S 1187 

Rogers, Thomas 969 

Rolfe, Tallman Hathaway 646 

Rondoni, Peter 1 187 

Root, George W 1020 

Root, Lloyd L 1020 

Roseville Free Public Library 722 

Ross, John William 918 

Rossi, F. B 753 

Rowe, David S 1 158 

Royer, Michael Joseph 1222 

Rover, Thomas F 772 

Ruhkala, Matt 1141 

Ryder, Andrew 457 

Ryder, Frances E 45'' 

S 

Saladana, John 1150 

Salmon, Lorenzo Leslie 72.1 

Sanders, George F 108S 

Sanders, Joseph 553 

Sanford, Jesse Monroe 667 

Sanford. Wallace 1 582 

Sanford, Walter B 1195 

Santini. I. B 1125 

Sartain, Henry P 675 

Sather, Arthur M "23 

Saugstad. Andrew 600 

Sauvee, Mrs. Elizabeth M 990 

Sawyer, William I' ''35 

Schellhous, George C 605 

Schellhous, John M 1027 

Schellhous, Martin A 605 

Schellhous, Martin Andrew, Sr 464 



16 



INDEX OF NAMES 



Schiaro, Antone 1199 

Schindler, William 1173 

Schmitt, H. L 619 

Schnabel, A. H 726 

Schroeder, Henry Christian 801 

Seaman, Alfonso 1097 

Searls, Fred 487 

Searls, Fred, Jr 925 

Searls, Judge Niles 478 

Sebring, Charles G 692 

Segerstrand, Nels Gustave 983 

Shearer, Hiram D 659 

Shepard, Will A 594 

Sherman, Robert Barclay 506 

Sherritt, John 917 

Shields, John A 526 

Sims, Rev. Josiah 494 

Siri, Ernest 845 

Slade, Charles H 784 

Slade, William H 743 

Sleeman, Thomas 1188 

Small, Frank E 857 

Small, Frank M 884 

Smart, Joseph H 1121 

Smith, Charles E 1106 

Smith, Isaac H 765 

Smith, Walter Andrew 1241 

Smyth, Howard 1 862 

Smyth, James Winter 504 

Smyth, Sarah E. Capson 504 

Snook, Henry James 489 

Snyder, Atherton B 748 

Sonntag, Herman E 720 

Sorensen, Chris P 883 

Soto, John 695 

Sparks, William M 926 

Sprague, Alvah J 697 

Spuhler, Henry 1 186 

Stamas, Sam G 1246 

Stamme, Frank George 852 

Stark, Walter 1053 

Steiner, Joseph 780 

Stennett, John B 1161 

Stevens, Frederick S 620 

Stevens, Truman Allen 656 

Stewart, Daniel C 631 

Stewart, James D 780 

Stilson, Charles Henry. 701 

Stoffels, John M 769 

Stone, Melville 816 

Struble, Ava M 725 

Struble, Marion R 725 

Sullivan, Mrs. Katherine M. F 1217 

Surline, Asher David 690 

Sutton, Earle P 1232 

Sweet, John 687 

Sweetland, George L 1214 

T 

Talbot, Svdney 757 

Tamblvn, John 1164 

Tamblyn, William V 1101 

Taylor, Earl Garman 1154 

Taylor, J. Earl 1163 

Teagarden, J. A 1064 

Thomas, Charles 933 

Thomas, Herbert 663 

Thompson, James 1 482 

Thompson, Thomas 595 

Thomsen, Marcus 1039 

Thomson, Herman L 917 



Threlkel, George W 1013 

Threlkel, Mrs. Martha J 1019 

Thurman, Allen G 713 

Tippett, Fred G 805 

Tisher, Ralph 1215 

Tofft, Julius Elmer 1080 

Tognelli, Pius Oscar : 840 

Towers, Mrs. Martha 734 

Towle, Edwin W 469 

Towle, George W 803 

Trevey, Hale M 847 

Tropper. Frank J 986 

Tucker, James M ." 858 

Tullev, James E 869 

Turner, Charles R 1191 

Turner, Frederick W 551 

Turner, Joseph 461 

Tuttle, Raglan 727 

Twitchell, Ozro Leander 1053 

U 

Uren, William H 800 

V 

Van Lennep, H. G 717 

Van Orden, William Andrew 617 

Van Orden, William Brown 534 

Vega Brothers 1225 

Vereker, Rev. Richard 1189 

Vicencio, Cosme J 1 189 

Vicencio, Peter 1155 

Viehmeier, John 766 

Vore, Edmund 501 

W 

Waddell, James 941 

Waggoner, Waldo W 1087 

Waldo, Edmund F 609 

Walker. George Byron 1223 

Walling, Hon. Julius Madison 492 

Walter, Otto Thomas 1211 

Ware, Stonewall Jackson 681 

Watson, Elizabeth McDonald 1155 

Watt, Mrs. Alison F 763 

Watts, John -1194 

Watts, W. L 1118 

Webster, George J 1209 

Weeks, Edward W 1211 

Weinman, Charles A 1023 

Weisgerber, William C 1190 

West, Burr W 943 

West, George Edward 627 

Wheeler, Isabella 791 

Wheeler, Lewis 791 

White, Richard P 1202 

Whiting, William W 1162 

Whitney, Mrs. Fanny 1082 

Whitney, John T 1082 

Whitney, Parker 1027 

Wickman, Anders Oscar 921 

Wickman, Victor 837 

Willard, Alfred H 931 

Williams, Albert M 739 

Williams, Luke W 1190 

Williams, Orv E 1004 

Williams. S. K 1191 

Williams, William 1157 

Willson, D. H 979 

Willits, Georgiana R 722 

Wills, John Henrv 848 

Wilson, Col. Charles L 1042 

Wilson, Charles Lincoln, Jr 1057 



INDEX OF NAMES 



17 



Wilson. Charles Lincoln III 1057 

Wilson, Tames Hubbard 1195 

Wilson. W. J 673 

Wilson, William Joseph, Sr 455 

Wiswell, Mrs. Mattie R 1049 

Wiswell, Merle H 1009 

Wiswell, Walter 1103 

Wodell. Charles E 1224 

Wolf, Albert G 669 

Wolff. Tacob 1128 

Wood, Charles F 1156 



Wood, George Knight 1157 

Woodbridge, Bradford 969 

Woodbridge, Cora May 743 

Woods, William Jefferson 571 

Wyatt. James 1059 

Wyatt, James Edward 1032 

Y 

Young, Thad 986 

Z 

Zellner, William F 1102 



PREFACE 

In the compilation of the History of Placer Count}- for this work, the 
writer has pursued an uncharted course. It was his wish to meet the Hon. 
M. L. Brock, Mayor of Grass Valley, the writer of the History of Nevada 
County, and together with him to discuss their proposed labors and to a 
certain extent lay out the general course each should pursue. Accident pre- 
vented our meeting, though the wish to meet has been mutual ; and up to 
the date of correcting the last galley of proofs of the' story of Placer County, 
the writer has not had the pleasure of meeting his co-laborer in their joint 
task of duty and pleasure. 

The two counties are similar in location, extending from the eastern 
State line southwesterly to the foothills and the central valley portion of our 
State. Both counties are bounded mainly, and intersected, by small rivers 
and ravines once rich in gold, with bars, banks and whole mountain-sides that 
yielded their golden stores freely until stopped by Federal and State injunc- 
tions. The early immigration to the two counties was of the same class of 
people ; and the first occupations of their pioneers were identical — mining, 
lumbering, and some farming. Both counties were in the Sacramento Dis- 
trict when the delegates were elected to the first Constitutional Convention 
in 1849. 

The number of pages allotted to the writer, and also his time, were 
limited by his contract with the publishers ; therefore, it has seemed advis- 
able to minimize certain statistical features, such as the details of the 
numerous elections, long tabulations of financial matters, taxes collected and 
paid out, etc. Lists of churches and their first ministers and successors have 
been eliminated, and the names of many lodges and fraternal societies have 
been omitted, for a like lack of space. Besides, there is a feeling of keen 
regret associated with the naming of the churches and lodges in the old 
mining towns. Many places of former social concourse now stand unused, 
or are dismantled or entirely destroyed, their membership long since having 
moved away, never to return. At Todds Valley, Forest Hill, Michigan Bluff, 
Iowa Hill, and other early-day mining towns, there have been well supported 
Masonic Lodges and Chapters, Odd Fellows' Lodges and Encampments, and 
other worthy societies and auxiliaries ; but now they either have surrendered 
their charters and passed away, or have been absorbed into stronger lodges 
farther down towards the valley part of the count}'. A widely scattered 
membership was generally the cause for the discontinuance of the early 
churches and lodges. The churches and ministers of the gospel in the mining 
towns, in the early days, did their work faithfully and well ; and the fraternal 
societies and temperance organizations worked for the betterment "i their 
fellows, as their members had done at their old homes in the East. 

As a valuable substitute for the pages thus saved, a chapter on tin- work 
of the Placer County Exemption Board during the World War has been in- 
eluded, together witli as accurate a list of our enlisted and drafted soldier 
boys as could be procured, and an official list of casualties furnished by the 



20 PREFACE 

Government. It is believed that this chapter will in the coming years prove 
invaluable to our citizens. 

The writer desires to thank all those who, in keeping with their promise 
at the inception of this work, have prepared special technical articles for its 
pages — articles that have added materially to its value and interest. In 
particular, he wishes to thank Mr. A. J. Gladding, of Lincoln, manufacturer 
of pottery, for his article on the pottery industry of Lincoln ; Mr. H. E. 
Butler, of the Penryn Fruit Company, for his valuable aid in preparation of 
matter on the fruit industry of the county, and especially for the chapter on 
the Exemption Board of Placer County ; Mr. W. J. Wilson, of W. J. Wilson 
& Son, fruit shippers of Newcastle, for his concise and accurate account of 
fruit-shipping at Newcastle and from Placer County ; Mr. Guy W. Brundage, 
cashier of the First National Bank of Auburn, for his article on the Banks 
of Placer County; Hon. E. S. Birdsall, for his article on olive culture; and 
Mr. Herbert M. Cooper, division manager (Drum division) of the Pacific 
Gas & Electric Company, for his instructive article on the irrigating ditches 
of Placer County, hydro-electric development thus far in the county, and its 
possibilities for the future. 

The writer also wishes to thank the Historic Record Company of Los 
Angeles, California, the publisher of this work, and its officers and em- 
ployees, for the uniform courtesy and patience extended to him in the 
preparation of this part of the work — a very feeble effort to describe "A 
Continent within a County." 

W. B. LARDNER. 

Auburn, California, August 25, 1924. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 



CHAPTER I 

PLACER COUNTY 

Placer County lies in the north central part of California, and runs north- 
easterly over the main range of the Sierra Nevada to the State of Nevada, 
part of its north and northwest boundary being the Bear River, while Yuba 
County lies north of the western part of the county, and Nevada County 
borders our northwest boundary to the source of the river, and is thence our 
northern boundary in a line extending due east to the State of Nevada, the 
point of intersection being the northeast corner of the county and lying 
eight miles east of Truckee. Thence the county line passes south on the 
120th degree of longitude (the east boundary line of Californ : a for the 
northern part of the State) for a distance of about six miles by land, and 
thence due south through Lake Tahoe- about fifteen miles, nearly reaching 
the thirty-ninth degree of north latitude ; thence due west, reaching the west 
shore of Lake Tahoe south of McKinney's Creek ; thence following the north 
boundary of Eldorado County by section-line divisions ; thence west to the 
Rubicon River, sometimes called the South Fork of the Middle Fork of the 
American River ; thence in a general westerly course to the junction with 
the North Fork of the American River near Auburn ; thence in a southerly 
direction to the mouth of the South Fork of the American River, this being 
the southeast corner of the lower or valley part of the county ; thence in a 
slightly northwest course along the northern boundary of Sacramento Coun- 
ty to the southwest corner of Placer County, where it meets Sutter County, 
this point lying due north from Sacramento and about ten miles distant, and 
about the same distance east from the Sacramento River ; thence north along 
the eastern boundary of Sutter County, with two set-offs to the east, until 
the line reaches our starting point at the center of the Old Channel of the 
Bear River, said point being the northwestern corner of the lower or valley 
portion of Placer County, which corner lies about two and a half miles north- 
west from Sheridan, near where the present State highway bridge crosses 
the New Channel of the Bear River, and not many rods east of the Sutter 
County boundary line. 

The above description follows our exterior county boundaries closely as 
they stand, but for many years certain parts of our boundaries were in doubt 
and very indefinite. I will mention points of interest. 

From the configuration of the land, the direction of the flow of the rivers, 
and gradual rise in elevation towards the high mountains, it was natural that 
the early statutes made the rivers the usual county boundaries when possible; 
so in Placer County the southeast and northwest boundaries are rivers. Com- 
mencing at the northwest corner of the valley part of Placer County, we find 
on our official map the words "Old Channel," and to the south. "New Chan- 
nel." About 1870 the Bear River began to change its channel to the south 
2 



34 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

soon after leaving the foothills. Mining debris in the bed of the river made 
it overflow its banks, and it was continually shifting until 1881, when it was 
finally confined with levees and dykes. The Old Channel is the established 
county boundary between Yuba and Placer Counties, and this led to an 
amusing incident. A few years ago the Yuba County supervisors met our 
supervisors in friendly conference and made overtures for changing the 
county boundary to the New Channel of the Bear River, contending that 
the farming lands between the old and new channels were owned mostly 
by Yuba County citizens, and also basing their argument on considerations 
of convenience, etc. The land is a fine hop and vegetable soil and pays fair 
taxes to Placer County ; so naturally the Placer County officials objected. 
In a few years the State highway was routed from Sheridan, Placer County, 
to Wheatland, and beyond into Yuba County. The State law provides that 
bridges over ravines and rivers inside a county shall be paid for by that 
county, but both counties join in the cost of a bridge over a river which is a 
boundary line. The result was that Placer County built a costly cement 
bridge over the New Channel of the present Bear River at a cost of $25,000. 

Another bad situation involved our boundary line in the mountain port : on 
of the county, between Placer and Eldorado Counties, on the south. The 
line was indefinite and very uncertain, but was fixed by statute in 1851, 
and then was confirmed by reenactment in the political code of 1872, and 
remained our southeast boundary until 1919. The code section defining the 
west and north boundary of Eldorado County (which was Placer's east and 
south boundaries) says: 

Sec. 3927, Pol. Code: "Beginning on the west corner, at the junction 
of the north and south forks of the American River ; thence up the north 
fork to the mouth of the middle fork ; thence up the middle fork to the 
mouth of the south fork of the middle fork at Junction Bar ; thence up said 
last-named fork to a point where the same is intersected by the Georgetown 
and Lake Bigler trail ; thence along said trail to Sugar Pine Point, on the 
western shore of Lake Bigler ; thence east to the state line," etc. 

A mere changeable trail, winding in a general easterly course for the last 
thirty miles towards the lake, surely was not a very definite and certain 
boundary, but it was not changed by the legislature until 1919. 

Even the county surveyors did not seem certain about the boundary line. 
As late as 1887 Placer County adopted an official county map which seems 
not to have followed the trail all the way. At the west end the boundary 
line ran up Gurley Creek, thence northeasterly over the summit and down 
McKinney Creek for some distance to the west line of Section 18, Township 
14 north, Range 17 east, and thence with a straight line to Sugar Pine Point 
on the lake. 

The official map of Eldorado County, adopted a few years later, followed 
about the same course, but neither map was correct with reference to the 
Georgetown and Lake Bigler trail, especially its course as it neared the lake. 
The writer followed the trail with Surveyor L. F. Warner, as pointed out by 
old lake residents. The trail curved to the south, away from the creek, as it 
approached the lake, and with a long sweeping course, passing not far from 
the lake shore southerly, between a wealthy citizen's house and barn, and then 
curving to the left to Sugar Pine Point. 

The situation was uncertain and intolerable. Land was erroneously 
assessed and offered for sale for delinquent taxes in both counties. An 
attempt was made in the legislature of 1903 to have the line definitely 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 35 

located, but the bill was introduced too late. During the summer of 1919 
the supervisors of both counties met and agreed that a friendly attempt 
should be made on a compromise boundary line. 

The writer, for Placer County, and the present judge of Eldorado 
County, George H. Thompson, Esq., then district attorney, for that county, 
agreed on the boundary line. The indefinite trail was abandoned. The line 
followed up the South Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River, and 
thence up what is now called Rubicon River, to a point where the same is 
intersected by the section line between Sections 29 and 32, Township 14 north, 
Range 14 east, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian ; thence east and north, with 
numerous calls and short distances, and finally for last calls, "thence north 
to the one-quarter section corner between Sections 7 and 18, Township 14 
north. Range 17 east; thence east on the section line to the western shore- 
line of Lake Bigler, now called Lake Tahoe ; thence east in said lake to the 
State line." 

This boundary line being satisfactory to both boards of supervisors, it 
was introduced and passed in the legislature of 1919, on May 23. 

Another boundary line needed to be definitely settled, the true east and 
west boundary line between Placer and Nevada Counties. The early statute 
said, "up said river (Bear) to its source, thence east, in a direct line, to the 
eastern line of the State of California, forming northeast corner." There was 
for many years some uncertainty as to the exact source of the Bear River. A 
small near-by lake was not constant in size. Heavy rains in winters and dry 
hot summers changed the initial point for starting due east ; but finally that 
point was definitely agreed on by the officials of both counties in the year 
1907, and a boundary line was run and marked by substantial iron posts, the 
line running close to the southern shore-line of Donner Lake and the south 
line of Truckee, the Nevada County railroad town on the overland route. 

About twenty years ago the Secretary of the Interior at Washington 
issued a fine colored map of California. The writer purchased one and was 
surprised to find Sheridan in Sutter County. The line which jogs off east 
three miles from the main north and south of Sutter County was made to 
run six miles instead of three, and thence north to the Bear River. A letter 
was written to the proper map department at "Washington about the error, 
and an answer was received with promise of correction in the next edition. 

Down in the extreme southwest corner of the county, eleven miles west 
of Roseville, we have an interesting little village, like a second Andorra — 
the little town on the border line between France and Spain. Riego is its 
name. It is located on the Northern Electric Railroad running from Sacra- 
mento to Marysville and Chico. Owing to the fact that the southwest corner 
of the county happens to be on a range line and the new townships and sec- 
tions often vary a little in the Linked States surveys, Riego, with its post 
office, railroad station and railroad, streets, etc., are all in Placer County. on 
a projecting portion of a section of land surrounded on the north and west by 
Sutter County, and on the south by Sacramento County. For many years 
Sutter County has been very "dry," by ordinance, while Riego was always a 
licensed town ; but since the Eighteenth Amendment went into effect, the 
southwest corner of Placer County is supposed to be "dry" also. Campaign- 
ing office-seekers of adjoining counties often strayed out of their county 
when visiting the vicinity of Riego. 

Referring once more to the northwest corner of the county, statistics 
show that there are 1057 acres north of the present New Channel of the Bear 



66 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

River. The large Natoma Reclamation District, No. 1001, extends from 
Sacramento north ; the same extends up the Bear River also about two miles 
above the railroad bridge. The river debouches, near this point, from the 
foothills and low bluffs. It has always been a roaring little river in winter 
seasons, but a quiet little stream in summer. 

The Claude Chana ranch is near this place. Claude Chana was one of 
the first to discover gold in Auburn Ravine. Camp Far West, and Johnson's 
Crossing and bridge, were near this place in early days ; we will hear of 
these places again in the discussion of the early pioneer days, and the suffer- 
ings of the Donner Party. 

The writer is strongly in favor of accurately located county boundaries. 
There is room for further accuracy by marking the center of the Old Channel 
for about two miles with granite posts. Sections 781 and 782 of our Penal 
Code relate to jurisdiction of offenses in either county ; if they are on the 
boundary of two or more counties, within five hundred yards thereof, the 
jurisdiction is in either county. What are known as the "Wheatland hop- 
fields riots," which resulted in the unfortunate killing of the Yuba County 
district attorney, occurred not far from the unmarked old river channel. 
The subsequent criminal trials were costly affairs. 

For sixty-eight years an unmarked mountain trail, for about thirty miles, 
was our northeast boundary line ; and for forty years an unmarked, old, 
filled-up river channel has been our southwestern boundary for a few miles. 
Happily no financial loss has happened to our county from these causes, nor 
has expensive litigation (a not unusual occurrence) marred our friendly rela- 
tions with our neighboring count : es. 

RIVERS AND RAVINES 
The American River and Its Branches 

Rio de los Americanos was the name of the American River as given by 
the native Spanish-speaking population to Captain Fremont in 1844, on his 
first exploring expedition into California. It signified to the explorer that 
already Americans from the States, immigrants, hunters and trappers like 
Kit Carson, and perhaps men from the Oregon country, were coming over 
the mountains and down the branches of the American River into the great 
Sacramento Valley. 

Our Placer County recorder's office shows a deed recorded in Book B 
of Deeds, at pages 289-290, whereby John Augustus Sutter, of Nueva Helvetia, 
a citizen of California, granted and conveyed unto Eliab and Hiram Grimes 
and John Sinclair a large tract of land bounded on the west by the Secra- 
mento River and on the south by the river called the "American Fork," the 
boundary extending in an easterly direction for thirteen miles. This deed 
was made on August 10, 1843, the year before Fremont first came into Cali- 
fornia, and was recorded in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Sutter County 
land records before it was duly recorded on November 12, 1855, in our 
recorder's office. The deed, which is given in full elsewhere, is mentioned 
here simply to indicate that American people and their language were at 
that early date well-known within our future boundaries. 

The North Fork of the American River starts near Soda Springs, not far 
from Tinker's Knob, on the west side of the main Sierra Nevada range, 
and near the north line of the county, and runs in a southwesterly course, 
uniting with the Middle Fork near Auburn ; and thence the stream continues 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 37 

slightly southwest to where the South Fork from Eldorado County flows into 
the united North and Middle Forks, at the southeast corner of our valley 
part of the county, whence the main stream of the American River flows 
southwesterly into the Sacramento River on the north side of our Capital city. 

In early days the American River was navigable for light-draught boats 
a short distance above Sacramento City, but since active mining days and 
the building of numerous rail and highway bridges all navigation has ceased. 

The North Fork is entirely within Placer County until it unites with the 
Middle Fork, and from there down to the southeast corner of the county it 
forms our east boundary line. 

The Middle Fork has always formed the south boundary of the mountain 
part of the county for part of the way to Lake Tahoe. 

The South Fork of the Middle Fork, sometimes called the Rubicon River, 
now constitutes a farther part of the south boundary ; but since 1919 the line 
ieaves said river eastward on the line between Sections 29 and 32, Township 
14, north, Range 14 east, as before described. 

Both the North and Middle Forks are clear mountain streams, well 
stocked with trout. Salmon came far up the rivers in early days, but the 
North Fork dam, sometimes called Birdsall Dam. just below Auburn, has 
stopped the salmon running, and interfered much with other game fish. 

On the Forest Hill Divide there is another Fork of the American River, 
called the North Fork of the Middle Fork, and also numerous canons, creeks 
and ''forks" flowing in a general southwest course either into this or into 
the main North Fork, Middle Fork, and South Fork, the chief ones being 
Long Canon, with its branches, and Duncan Canon, Deep Canon, Secret 
Canon, Indian Creek. Eldorado Canon, Indian Canon, Humbug Canon, Gas 
Canon, Brushy Canon, and Shirt-tail Canon. All are good trout-streams. 

Bear River 

The Bear River, from its source southwesterly to the southwest corner 
of Placer County, is a wild, torrential stream, like the forks of the American, 
during the rainy season, but quiets down during the dry season to a modest 
little river, well stocked with trout in its upper reaches through Bear Valley. 

Ravines or Creeks 

The creeks in the lower part of the county are generally called ravines. 
They start west of the ridge on which the Central Pacific Railroad runs, near 
Clipper Gap. Auburn and Newcastle, and follow the general southwest slope 
of the foothills and valleys, towards the Sacramento Valley and River, the 
principal streams being Auburn Ravine. Dutch Ravine, Doty's Ravine, Ante- 
lope and Secret Ravines, Dry Creek, Coon Creek, and Pleasant Grove Creek. 

Other Topographical Features 

If a line were drawn from the junction of the North and Middle Forks 
of the American River, near Auburn, northwesterly to the Bear River, a dis- 
tance of about eight miles, the lower portion of Placer County would be nearly 
a square, twenty-five by thirty miles in dimension, about the size of a West- 
ern State county. 

The western part is slightly rolling, increasing in elevation gradually 
towards the northeast. The following figures show the rise as one travels hy 
railroad towards the summit of the mountains. Beginning at Roseville, about 
two miles from the southern boundary lines, the elevation is 163 feet. Rocklin 



38 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

249, Loomis 403, Newcastle 970, and Auburn 1363. To show the gradual 
elevation along the railroad above Auburn, we mention the following towns 
and their altitudes in feet above the sea : Clipper Gap 1759, Weimar 2289, 
Colfax 2421, Cape Horn 2692, Gold Run 3206, Dutch Flat 3403, Alta 3612, 
Shady Run 4154, Blue Canon 4678, Emigrant Gap 5230, Cisco 5939, Cascade 
5620 and Summit 7017. Over the summit: Strongs 6781, Truckee 5846. 

The lower or valley portion of, the county may be considered as follows : 
The western half as the wheat, barley, hay, grain and general valley farming 
section, including stock-raising with summer ranges in the high mountains ; 
while the east half of this lower square is the main foothill section, including 
a citrus belt extending in elevation from about 300 feet above the sea to 1300 
feet. All the usual temperate-zone fruits and berries are raised here, and for 
many miles up into the mountains. In fact, the hardy winter apples and 
pears mature (barring late frosts during blossoming time) as far up as Blue 
Canon, at an elevation of 4678 feet. My diary, kept at Gold Run (elevation 
3206), in February, 1873, reads, for February 6: "Beautiful weather. It 
would put to shame an Iowa June morning. Snow will soon be gone. The 
almonds are just budding." On February 9 it reads: "Snowed eight inches 
last night." At Iowa Hill, Forest Hill, Michigan Bluff, Dutch Flat, Alta, 
and places of similar elevations, the finest winter apples are grown ; while 
peaches and cherries are noted for their fine flavor at Yankee Jims and other 
similar elevations. 

From near Auburn the mountain part of the county widens out into two 
main divides or ridges. The ridge between the North Fork of the American 
River and the Bear River, sometimes called the Railroad Divide, gradually 
rises with easy grades to where, at an elevation of 7017 feet, the railroad 
crosses the summit, at a station named Summit from its location at the top 
of the grade. There are individual peaks two or three thousand feet greater in 
elevation, nearby. 

The other and much wider ridge, generally called the Forest Hill Divide, 
is subdivided into many smaller ridges and divides ; and in many places are 
found many broad acres and gently rolling fields of mountain land, once 
covered with fine timber, but now cleared and making good tillable farming 
and fruit land. 

The main Forest Hill Divide or ridge runs in a northeasterly course just 
south of the North Fork of the American River. There are a series of 
divided ridges, Forest Hill, Secret and Hog's-back, the eastern being a little 
higher than the last one, appearing to have been cut through by the river in 
ancient times diagonally, not at right angles, with the general course of the 
river. 

The ridge curves from northeast to east, and gradually rises to an ele- 
vation of about 7000 feet at Robinson's Flat, where a government forestry 
station is located, with a lookout station nearby having an elevation of 7170 
feet. Below this curving ridge, spread out like a great green fan, are numer- 
ous canons and ravines, with their mountain streams converging into larger 
streams, and finally reaching the Middle Fork of the American River. 

Robinson's Flat, with its wet swampy land covered with tamarack trees, 
is still twenty miles from Lake Tahoe and the eastern county line. Ridges 
still run northwest up the mountains towards Soda Springs and southeast 
down Duncan Ridge and Last Chance Ridge towards Michigan Bluff. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 39 

At an elevation of about 5500 feet there is a deep bowl or basin, west of 
Duncan Ridge, in which is found the Placer County grove of big trees, seven 
standing and two prostrate ones, the genuine Sequo : a gigantea. 

From Duncan Ridge, for twenty miles eastward, there is a succession of 
ridges and ravines, a broken country, the highest peaks being immediately 
west of Lake Tahoe. 

The whole upper mountain section is heavily covered with stately pines, 
cedars, firs and spruces of the choicest kinds and of mammoth proportions. 
Occasional roads and many trails wind over and through the mountains. 
The government forester's telephones and wires are much in evidence, con- 
necting the remote stations. Here and there, roads and trails lead down 
into some of the canons, where drift mines are in operation. 

From Truckee, over the summit, a narrow-gauge railroad runs up the 
Truckee River fifteen miles to Tahoe City. Lake Tahoe has an elevation of 
6225 feet, and evidently fills the crater of an extinct volcano. Brockway resort, 
at the north end of the lake, is ten miles from Truckee by stage road, and is 
located on the extreme eastern edge of Placer County. A walk of a few rods 
takes you past the large granite monument, or boundary-line post, and into 
the State of Nevada. A fine State highway runs south to Tallac, in Eldorado 
County, at the southern end of the lake ; but this beautiful lake and the 
tourists' resorts are reserved for later comment. 

The mountain part of the county is about thirty miles wide at the 
widest part. From southwest to northeast the county is about 100 miles 
long. Its climate ranges from that of the temperate zone in the valley to a 
region of nearly perpetual snow on the highest mountains in the eastern part. 

The county contains 1411 square miles of territory, thus being about the 
size of Rhode Island. 

I have now traced the exterior boundaries of Placer County — "Old 
Placer of the Mountain Tops," as it was called by the late Charles Shortridge 
of legislative halls — and have mentioned its rivers and ravines, and described 
in a general way the topography of its valley portion, its productive foothills, 
and its mountain sections. And now the reader may be curious to know some- 
thing of its history, of the pioneers and their achievements ; of the great nat- 
ural resources of the county, and how they have been developed ; of its vast 
mineral wealth, granite quarries, clays and pottery products ; of its timber and 
timberlands, its soils and agricultural products, its fruit-raising and fruit- 
shipping, its ditches, hydro-electric energy, highways and railroads, its lake 
and mountain resorts, its hunting and fishing, its banks, churches, schools, 
cities and towns, and other things that go to make up this goodly land — "An 
Empire within a County," "The Gateway County" into the Golden State. 

The writer proposes, with the aid of able assistants, as mentioned in the 
prospectus of this history of Placer County, to touch briefly on all of the 
above subjects, and others that may be pertinent to this work; and especial 
attention will be called to the great advancement made in the county since 
about the year 1880, when the modern period of our history may be said to 
have begun. 

Beginning of the Modern Period 

The writer once asked Moses Andrews, banker and express agent at 
Auburn, when he first noticed a real change in Auburn and the county in 
general as regards signs of permanent settlement, or about when the people 
residing here began to indicate that they were satisfied to remain as perma- 



40 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

nent and contented citizens of Placer County. His answer was, that in 1873 
he noticed that the dwellings began to receive new shingles on the roofs 
and fresh paint on the walls, gates and fences were repaired, and a general 
disposition was manifest among the people to settle down and enjoy their 
homes. 

In 1870 the Central Pacific Railroad got into full operation as an over- 
land road. I have before me an issue of the Chicago Times of September 22, 
1869, giving a full account of one of the first excursions to Chicago and the 
East of 201 visiting men and women from California. The account recites a 
hearty reception. 

Hydraulic mining in the mountains began to reach its greatest power and 
perfection about 1870. Tunnels were being driven into the high banks of 
mining claims, and hundreds of kegs of black powder were exploded to loosen 
the soil so that the washing process for gold could proceed more rapidly. 
With many hundreds of accurately measured miner's inches of water pouring 
from regulating reservoirs into ditches and into iron pipes large at the intake, 
but graudally tapering to from four to six inches, as the current rushed 
through the "little giants" or monitors, often under 300 or 400 feet of pres- 
sure, their force and execution were awe-inspiring to the beholder. Some 
of the best hydraulic mines in California were developed in Placer and Nevada 
Counties, especially at Forest Hill, Michigan Bluff, Iowa Hill, Gold Run and 
Dutch Flat, in Placer County, and You Bet, Little York and the wonderful 
mines near Nevada City and Grass Valley, in Nevada County. 

Saw and shingle mills were busy, and thousands of feet of the best 
lumber were cut annually. The first orchards were producing well and the 
fruit business was well past the garden stage. Then, too, the Comstock 
silver mines were shipping in from Nevada some of those early millions 
which aided in building San Francisco and other bay cities with granite, 
brick and steel. 

Going back home to the East was now well-nigh a thing of the past, 
save only as a visitor ; and coming to California by permanent settlers was 
the rule. Yes, the old pioneers became more settled and contented, and more 
fully satisfied to remain, between the years 1870 and 1875. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 41 



CHAPTER II 

THE PIONEERS 

A pioneer is one who goes before to remove obstacles and prepare the 
way for others, or one who is among the first to explore a country. The real 
pioneer was no rude son of toil, but a man of thought, often trained in arts 
and letters. 

There always has been a strong desire in this country to learn what is in 
the West. It is said our first pioneers backed over the Alleghany Mountains; 
for while they felt compelled to go over into the country that lay beyond, 
yet they kept their eyes as much as possible towards the Atlantic, on whose 
shores they were born, or for a time had left their dear ones. 

The pioneer, after reaching the valleys and plains of Ohio, Kentucky, 
Illinois and Tennessee, still longed to see the prairie lands beyond the Great 
Father of Waters. And so it ever has been. The great Rockies were crossed, 
but the dry and rugged country that lay beyond them inspired in turn the 
longing and hope for green mountains and beautiful valleys on the coast 
of the peaceful Pacific. The stories of the trappers, hunters and returned 
sailors, who had visited the Pacific Coast, were ever luring the pioneer onward 
to still greater discoveries. 

There was a well-settled conviction that the Oregon country and Upper 
California should belong to the United States. The more intelligent of the 
Spanish settlers believed it, and some even hoped for it, since it would mean 
stability, prosperity and American progress for them. The Bear Flag episode 
was half condoned, not seriously disputed, by even General Vallejo himself, 
it has been said by men who are living today and who heard him express his 
indifference as to a change of government. From Bear Flag to the Stars 
and Stripes was but a hoped-for step. Men from New England whaling ships 
settled here, never to return to their Eastern homes, and Oregon fur trappers 
and representatives of the American Fur Company refused to leave this 
glorious country. 

The intelligent pioneering people who started for California even before 
gold was discovered, made up a most desirable class of citizens. The hardy 
men, women and children of the Donner Party started for California as early 
as 1846. And after gold was discovered, many a husband brought his wife 
and family at great cost and danger, and came to settle here; while others 
came alone, with the firm intention of sending for their wises and families 
as soon as homes could be provided for them. I accord to the wives, mothers 
and sweethearts, who were left behind, but who dared the dangers of the 
plains, the Isthmus of Panama, or the many months of sailing around Cape 
Horn, to come to this fair land, the fullest title to the word "pioneer." 

The early comer, however, did not come with definite purpose to build 
a State, as is so often claimed, though from such people and pioneers a State 
was naturally evolved. The American genius, tlu- Anglo-Saxon's ingrained 
instinct for civil liberty, is so strong that even under the stre~- of new anil 
untried conditions of life, and amid a strange environment, the growing 
pioneer settlements of our Western Territories, time and again, have met in 




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HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 43 

an orderly manner in their convention halls, and have added the successive 
stars of Statehood to our national emblem. Our first constitutional conven- 
tion and its quick work were models of perfection and simplicity. 

Dr., Francis Lieber, that transplanted German who became one of our 
most profound American thinkers and writers, and who was the author of 
"Civil Liberty and Self-Government," used in many colleges, remarks that 
it was instinctive for the average American of early days to meet in some 
Western country schoolhouse, organize with the proper officers, debate and 
pass resolutions expressing needs and hopes, draw petitions, set forth facts, 
and even respectfully to advise in such manner that the results of their 
deliberations were fit to be considered by the Congress of the United States. 
In beaurocratic Europe such a thing would be impossible; police authority, 
the government's supervising officers, the tyranny of a suspicious autocratic 
government, would make it so. 

The True Pioneers 

Myron Angel, a writer of repute, strongly expressed my idea of the true 
California pioneer in Thompson and West's History of Placer County, bottom 
of page 63, where he says: "It was in the few years prior to the discovery 
of gold that the genuine pioneers of California braved the unknown dangers 
of the plains and mountains with the intention of settling in the fair valley 
of which so much was said and so little known, and building a home for 
themselves and their children." Many of these early immigrants crossed the 
mountains by nearly the same route as that pursued by the Central Pacific 
Railroad, except that they followed down Bear River to the plains. 

The Donner Party 

The public press, on July 5, 1923, commented on the death the day before 
of two of the then remaining survivors of the Donner Party, who were saved 
as mere children and carried over the mountains by stalwart rescuers from 
Sutter's Fort in the winter of 1846. The first, Mrs. Elitha C. Wilder, was a 
daughter of Robert Donner. She died at the age of ninety-one near Elk 
Grove, Sacramento County. The second, Mrs. Martha Reed Lewis, died at 
East Twin Lakes, Santa Cruz County. She was eighty-seven years of age. 
Mrs. Leanna App, of Jamestown, Tuolumne County, sister of .Mrs. Wilder, 
still lives, the sole survivor, it is claimed, of that sad attempt to reach our 
sunny shores. 

The Donners and others of that fated party were of the true pioneer 
stock. The part)- was mainly organized in Illinois, and its tragic experiences 
came toward the last part of its ill-fated journey. The party was divided, 
met great difficulties and privations, and was saddened by a murder; and the 
charge of cannibalism clings to some of the names of that starving band who 
were snowbound at Donner Lake in the winter of 1846-1847. It is altogether 
too sad a tale to permit of going into full particulars. .Moreover their suffer- 
ings have been so often and so well told that the descriptions already given 
would he hard to equal, much less surpass, lion. C. F. McGlashan, of 
Truckee, Cal., has written the most accurate and painstaking account of the 
tragedy. Having received many hundreds of letters from the survivors, 
describing their personal experiences, and having lived lor many years in the 
immediate neighborhood of the cabins that housed the sufferers, he was in a 
position to present detailed and reliable information regarding their terrible 
sufferings. I refer to page 19, of the eleventh edition. 1918, for a list ol the 



44 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

members of the Donner Party, and the localities from which they came. The 
list as presented indicates the substantial character of this party of pioneers. 
The members of the party proper numbered ninety, and were as follows : 

"George Donner, Tamsen Donner (his wife), Elitha C. Donner, Leanna 
C. Donner, Frances E. Donner, Georgia A. Donner, and Eliza P. Donner. 
The last three were children of George and Tamsen Donner. Elitha and 
Leanna were children of George Donner by a former wife. [The press report 
of the death of Elitha C. Wilder, on July 4, 1923, undoubtedly refers to Elitha, 
Donner, above named, as of the Original Donner Party.] Jacob Donner, 
Elizabeth Donner (his wife), Solomon Hook, William Hook, George Donner, 
Jr., Mary M. Donner, Isaac Donner, Lewis Donner and Samuel Donner. 
Jacob Donner was a brother of George. Solomon and William Hook were 
sons of Elizabeth Donner by a former husband. 

"James Frazier Reed, Margaret W. Reed (his wife), Virginia E. Reed, 
Martha F. (Patty) Reed, James F. Reed, Jr., Thomas K. Reed, and Mrs. 
Sarah Keys, the mother of Mrs. Reed. 

"The two Donner families and the Reeds were from Springfield, 111. 
From the same place were Baylis Williams and his half-sister, Eliza Williams, 
John Denton, Milton Elliott, James Smith, Walter Herron and Noah James. 

"P'rom Marshall County, 111. came Franklin Ward Graves, Elizabeth 
Graves (his wife), Mary A. Graves, William C. Graves, Eleanor Graves, 
Lovina Graves, Nancy Graves, Jonathan B. Graves, F. W. Graves, Jr., Eliza- 
beth Graves, Jr., Jay Fosdick and Mrs. Sarah Fosdick (nee Graves). With 
this family came John Snyder. 

"From Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa, came Patrick Breen, Mrs. Margaret 
Breen, John Breen, Edward J. Breen, Patrick Breen, Jr., Simon P. Breen, 
James F. Breen, Peter Breen, and Isabella M. Breen. Patrick Dolan also 
came from Keokuk. 

"William H. Eddy, Mrs. Eleanor Eddy, James P. Eddy and Margaret 
Eddy came from Belleville, 111. 

"From Tennessee came Mrs. Lavina Murphy, a widow, and her family, 
John Landrum Murphy, Mary M. Murphy, Lemuel B. Murphy, William G. 
Murphy, Simon P. Murphy, William M. Pike, Mrs. Harriet F. Pike (nee 
Murphy), Naomi L. Pike and Catherine Pike. Another son-in-law of Mrs. 
Murphy, William M. Foster, with his wife, Mrs. Sarah A. C. Foster, and 
infant boy, George Foster, came from St. Louis, Mo. 

"William McCutcheon, Mrs. W. McCutcheon and Harriet McCutch- 
eon were from Jackson County, Mo. 

"Lewis Keseberg, Mrs. Phillipine Keseberg, Ada Keseberg and L. Kese- 
berg, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Wilfinger, Joseph Rhinehart, Augustus Spitzer, and 
Charles Burger came from Germany. 

"Samuel Shoemaker came from Springfield, Ohio ; Charles T. Stanton 
from Chicago, 111. ; Luke Halloran from St. Joseph, Mo. ; Mr. Hardcoop from 
Antwerp, in Belgium ; Antoine from New Mexico. John Baptiste was a 
Spaniard who joined the train near Santa Fe Trail ; and Lewis and Salvador 
were two Indians who were sent out from California by Captain Sutter. 

"The Breens joined the company at Independence, Mo. ; and the Graves 
family overtook the train one hundred miles west of Fort Bridger." 

In July, 1873, the writer, on his first trip to Lake Tahoe, left the train 
at Summit and walked down the west end of Donner Lake. He then hired 
a sail boat and went to the east end of the lake, and had pointed out to him 
the location of the three main cabins. There he noted the tall stumps near 
by, ten to twelve feet high, said to have been the stumps of small trees 
cut by members of the Donner Party during the terrible winter of 1846. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 45 

The route taken by the rescue parties and those who were saved 
passed westward over the high summit of the Sierras, thence down to near 
Cisco, and over and clown the ridge to near the present "Look-out Station," 
thence through the depression in the ridge near Emigrant Gap down into 
Bear Yalley, thence down Bear Valley and River to Johnson's Ranch and 
crossing, on the north side of the river. The first settlement reached by the 
immigrants on the Placer County side was that of Theodore Sicard's ranch 
at the crossing, and a few miles below was Camp Far West. The route was 
thence south, through the western portion of Placer County, to Sutter's Fort. 

About two weeks before the Donner Party was barred by snow at the 
summ't, an immigrant train passed in safety, among whom were Claude 
Chana, who located for a time on Bear River, near Wheatland, Yuba County, 
and Charles Covillaud, one of the original settlers of Marysville, who mar- 
ried Mary Murphy, a member of the Donner Party, from whom the name of 
Marysville was derived. 

Truckee and the Council Bluffs Party 

In the year 1844, another party of hardy pioneers, consisting of twenty- 
three men, came over the summit and down into the Sacramento Valley. 
They left Council Bluffs on May 20, 1844, by the usual overland route, coming 
through the future State of Nevada by way of the Humboldt River. There 
an Indian, named Truckee, offered to guide the party into California. He 
was a faithful guide and carried out his agreement. The beautiful stream 
that Fremont had named the "Salmon-Trout River" in the same year was 
named by this party Truckee River, after this faithful Indian. 

At Donner Lake it was decided to build a cabin and store the goods of 
the party until spring. Three young men agreed to stay and guard the 
property till relief came in the spring. The names of the three who agreed 
to remain were Allen Montgomery, Joseph Foster and Moses Schallenberger. 
All three were vigorous young pioneers. Leaving a half-starved cow and a 
small quantity of provisions for the three, the main party crossed the summit 
about November 15, 1844, having spent a dangerous and laborious month. 
The party experienced the same deep snow on the mountains that the Donner 
Party contended with in 1846-1847. 

The three men who were left behind expected to supply wild game for 
their support, but ten to fifteen feet of snow at Donner Lake drove the game 
out of the mountains. When the cow was nearly consumed, the young men 
saw starvation before them, and determined to cross the mountains. They 
reached the summit in one day, but here Schallenberger was taken with severe 
cramps and could not walk. He told his companions if they would take him 
back to the cabin, he would spend the winter alone. It was done, and Mont- 
gomery and Foster reached Sutter's Fort after much suffering. Poor Schal- 
lenberger had never heard of Dr. Coue and his word formula for feeling better 
and better every day, but with a strong will-power he determined to live till 
spring. He found some steel traps among the stores, and with these he 
caught enough foxes to sustain life until his rescuers came: and on March 1. 
1845, he reached Sutter's Fort. 

The names of this party, in addition to the three mentioned, are as 

follows: John Flomboy, Captain Stevens, Dr. Townsend, G. Greenw I 

and two sons, John and Britt, James Miller, Mr. Calvin, William Mart'n. 
Patrick Martin, Dennis Martin. Martin Murphy and five sons and Mr. Hitch- 
cock and son. 



46 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

The After History of Truckee 

Mr. Angel gives the after history of Truckee, the faithful Indian guide. 
He remained at Sutter's Fort till 1846, when war broke out with Mexico. 
He then joined Fremont's battalion, and was afterwards known as Captain 
Truckee. He was quite a favorite with Fremont, who presented him with 
a Bible on the fly-leaf of which was the donor's autograph. This, with a 
copy of the St. Louis Republican, Captain Truckee carefully preserved 
until his death. After the war was over, Truckee returned to his people 
on the east side of the Sierras. He always remained a firm friend of the white 
man and was a favorite with the thousands of miners who flocked to the 
Washoe region when silver ore was discovered. Captain Truckee lived at 
an Indian camp in the Palmyra district, Lyon County, Nev., about a mile 
from Como. One day in 1860, the Captain went to Como and asked the 
mining men what remedy he should use for a large swelling on his neck. The 
men thought he had been bitten by a tarantula and advised him to apply a 
slice of bacon. The faithful guide died that night, his last request being to 
be buried by the white men and in the white man's way. The miners dug a 
grave near Como in the croppings of the old Goliah Ledge, and the good Cap- 
tain Truckee was buried with the Bible and paper he had treasured so long 
by his sid«. 

The Peril of the Mountain-Passes 

The writer once heard a man (Saxon by name) say that he and others 
hauled a load of sawmill machinery to the west shore of Lake Tahoe during 
a certain Christmas week. Fremont says, relative to his passage of the 
summit on December 5, 1845 : "Our effort had been to reach the pass before 
a heavy fall of snow and we had succeeded. All night we watched the sky, 
ready to attempt the passage with the first indication of falling snow ; but the 
sky continued clear. On our way up, the "fine weather which we had left at 
the foot of the mountain continued to favor us ; and when we reached the 
pass, the only snow showing was on the peaks of the mountains." 

He reached Sutter's Fort on December 9. But the sudden changes in 
weather on the mountains are disastrous at times. The coming of deep 
snow works terrible hardship on the weary, unprepared parties caught cross- 
ing these mountains. We have already spoken of the Donner Party and the 
Council Bluffs Party. In his excellent "History of Nevada," published in two 
volumes in 1913, Sam P. Davis tells of the sufferings of Allen Grosh and a 
young Canadian by the name of McLoud in attempting to cross the mountains 
on the 1st of November, 1857. Allen Grosh lies buried at Last Chance, in 
Placer County, and the great silver mines bearing the name of Comstock 
should have been called the Grosh mines, because he and his brother, Hosea 
B. Grosh, discovered these wonderfully rich silver mines at Virginia City, 
Nev., in 1857. We quote here from Chapter XIII, "Early Mining Discover- 
ies," Vol. I, of the history by Davis. 

"About November 1, Allen, the remaining Grosh brother, took young 
McLoud and started across the mountains for Mud Springs by way of George- 
town. They crossed by way of Lake Tahoe, then known as Lake Bigler, 
and after being in a succession of snowstorms, finally reached Last Chance, 
in Placer County, where Grosh died from the effects of the privations he had 
suffered, and McLoud was obliged to have his feet amputated. 

"Johnson Simmons, who was stopping temporarily at Last Chance at the 
time, and who now resides in Oakland, gives the following account : T 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 47 

recall the time when two miners were brought into Last Chance in the winter 
of 1857. Some men were out deer hunting when they found the two lying in 
the snow, where they were dying of cold and hunger. The one named Grosh 
never spoke after he was brought in. The miners carried them from the 
place where they were first found, as they were too weak to walk. Grosh, I 
think, lived about three days after being brought in. His stomach refused 
nourishment and his legs were frozen. The other man we found pulled 
through, but they were obliged to amputate his feet. The miners then took 
him to Michigan Bluff, where they kept him until spring and then raised a 
subscription to send him to his relatives in Canada. Before he left for Canada 
he told me of his trip. He said their provisions gave out after passing Lake 
Bigler and their sufferings were terrible. They had their provisions, etc., on 
a pack-mule, but there was nothing but small twigs for him to eat, and he 
became so weak that they were obliged to kill him. After the mule was 
killed he was cut up and portions of his flesh roasted. The meat was lean, 
tough and unsavory, and only their terrible hunger made the repast endur- 
able. They ate their last cooked meal on the banks of the Truckee, and, sling- 
ing as much of the roast meat as they could carry on their shoulders, they 
pushed on. They became so faint that they could no longer carry anything 
except their blankets, so they ate as much as they could and threw the rest 
away. At that point Allen Grosh, who had stuck to his maps and assays 
through all the journey, concluded to abandon them also, and so he tied them 
up into a piece of canvas and deposited them in the hollow of a large pine 
tree. AIcLoud said that he never saw the assays, Grosh being very close- 
mouthed regarding them. All that he knew of them was that they were high 
in silver, and from a conversation he overheard, he believed them high in 
the thousands. The tree in which they were deposited had blown down in 
the wind, having broken about twenty feet from the ground. . . . The 
hollow in the tree was quite small, and after depositing the records he cut a 
mark on the tree with his knife and rolled a good-sized stone in front of the 
hollow. The next day there was a big snowstorm, and they finally threw 
away their blankets, as they were useless from the wet, and their matches 
were useless from the same cause. After the snowstorm it turned colder, and 
for four days and nights they wandered in the mountains nearly dead and 
demented from exposure and hunger. At night they could hear the howling 
of the wolves, but none were ever near enough to attack them, and once they 
crossed the track of a bear. They finally sank down with exhaustion near 
some rocks, and Grosh said he had rather die there than make an}' fur- 
ther effort. After giving themselves up for lost they heard shots, and Ale- 
Cloud roused himself and went in the direction of the shots, when he came 
on a party of miners hunting deer. He took the party to Grosh, only a few 
hundred yards away, and then sank down alongside him. The miners car- 
ried the two to Last Chance, a camp nearby, and there Grosh died after a 
few days, never having been able to speak. Had he been able to speak, Mo- 
Cloud felt confident he would have made some statement relative to his dis- 
coveries.' . 

"The Comstock made the reputation of Nevada as a mining State and it-; 
record of an output of $700,000,000 has never been eclipsed. It is a common 
thing for the latter-day mining men who are operating in Nevada to com- 
pare present achievements in mining operations and output with the record 
of the past, and the founders of the new camps frequently mention their 
holdings as 'another Comstock.' The cold light of statistics heating mi their 
claims, however, tells another story. 

"In closing this chapter one must not forget to pay a deserved tribute 
to the sturdy prospector who blazes the path which Midas is destined to 



48 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

tread later on. He lives on hope and braves the manifold dangers of the 
mountain and desert to unearth and tap the treasure vaults of Nature. He 
sows the harvest of wealth which others reap ; the dreams that haunt the 
haze of his camp-fire are realized by others ; yet without heed of self he 
presses on, leaving in his wake the pulsing life of populous cities and the 
hum of industries which spring into being from his wooing of the goddess 
of chance. The camp-followers of the prospector dwell in the tabernacle 
of wealth, while his bones rot in some unmarked and forgotten grave, or 
bleach upon the sands of the pitiless waste he gave up his life to conquer." 

A Tragic Story: Why He Did Not Write Home 

This is the tragic tale of a long-lost son and brother, and of how his 
body was found a few years ago by the brother, a State Senator and a wealthy 
business man of Los Angeles. 

The writer first made the acquaintance of Sen. A. T. Currier in the leg- 
islature of 1903. Later he wrote me asking me to ride with him to the 
old lime quarries across the American River in Eldorado County, saying 
he was hunting for a younger brother's grave, whose body lies buried there, 
the property now being owned by the Pacific Portland Cement Company. 
On the way over Senator Currier related to the writer the following touch- 
ing story : Very early after the discovery of gold in California, about 1850, 
his young brother and a neighbor boy friend of his back in Maine were taken 
with the craze to come to California to dig for gold. The young men came 
to the new Eldorado ; but soon thereafter his letters suddenly ceased to 
come to his Eastern home, and for about fifty years his whereabouts had 
been a mystery. While at Sacramento attending the legislature, Senator 
Currier received a letter from the State Prison at San Quentin requesting 
an interview. He went to the prison and found the chum of his young bro- 
ther, formerly of the old home town in Maine. The prisoner — for he was 
a life-termer on the charge of murder — told the Senator substantially the 
following story : 

The two young men arrived in California safely and went to the mines ; 
but work being slack, on hearing of some lime-burning operations across 
the American River from Auburn they concluded to accept that occupa- 
tion temporarily. They came to Auburn, crossed the river, and soon were 
regularly at work. Soon after they started to work, some Indians brought 
smallpox into the camp. The prisoner at San Quentin first took the dis- 
ease, and young Currier nursed him so carefully that he recovered. Then 
Currier came down with the smallpox, and notwithstanding the best of 
medical attention and such nursing as his chum could give him, he died. 
His friend buried him on the highest of several small hills near the lime 
works, and then took an old file, sharpened one end, and made a very 
decent-looking headstone out of a flat piece of limestone, about twelve or 
fifteen inches wide and some three feet long. Young Currier's name was 
neatly carved on the stone with age, where from, and date of death and 
the headstone was firmly set. His friend did not write of the unfortunate 
death, however, but soon drifted away, and got into bad company, unfor- 
tunately slew a man, and was convicted and sent to State Prison for life. 
Thinking Senator Currier might be a brother of the long-dead Maine boy 
and chum, the incarcerated man had sent for the Senator and related his 
story. Other circumstances were related which made the story seem true ; 
hence the trip to discover the grave. 



HrSTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 49 

When nearly at the top of the Eldorado grade, the writer asked a Mr. 
Flint, an acquaintance, whether there were any graves on the hill near the 
old lime works. He pointed us to an old cemetery on top of a nearby hill. 
There we found a picket fence surrounding several graves, but none bore 
the name of Currier. Naturally, Senator Currier was disappointed. He was 
a large, portly man, and had become quite exhausted in climbing the hill 
to the little graveyard ; so I urged him to rest himself and stated that I 
would hunt farther. In hunting around I became convinced that an adjoin- 
ing little hill was the taller of the two, and determined to reach the top of it. 
It was densely covered with chaparral and manzanita brush. After much 
work, on my hands and knees, I reached the top of the little hill and found 
what we were searching for — the little lime headstone was there, with the 
lettering still quite plainly visible after about fifty years of sun and 
winter rains. 

I assisted Senator Currier to crawl under the brush to the tombstone. 
He wrote everything down carefully in his notebook, and then broached the 
subject of removing the body to Los Angeles for re-interment, or to the 
old home back in Maine. He was undecided, and asked the writer's opinion. 
I urged that the body be allowed to remain as it was, suggesting possible 
slight danger of the disease of which he died ; moreover, a half century had 
passed and the boy was practically out of the lives of his surviving family ; 
there was nothing dishonorable in his death, and this was one of those sad 
endings of early-day ambition — a grave well marked by a once-loving school- 
boy chum, on the highest little hill by the lime works where he had labored, 
and overlooking the Middle Fork of the American River, a no-mean, quiet lo- 
cation in the grand old Mother County, Eldorado. Senator Currier agreed 
with me, made a few more notes in his book, and we then crawled down off 
the little hill, the Senator satisfied that his brother's sad death and resting 
place had been truly explained and found, after many years of waiting. 

Only another story of California's early days ! 



CHAPTER III 

JOHN A. SUTTER 

To get a correct idea of the early settlement of Placer County one must 
know something of that wonderfully liberal and later deeply wronged man 
and pioneer, John Augustus Sutter. 

John A. Sutter was a true pioneer of California. He began planning 
to come to California as early as 1835, while a resident of the State of Mis- 
souri, and finally came with a party of the American Fur Company in 1K38. 
via the Oregon route. There being no direct communication with Cali- 
fornia, he went to the Hawaiian Islands and waited there for five months. 
From there he worked his passage on an English ship to Sitka, in Russian 
Alaska, and then by water reached San Francisco Bay in July, 1833, only 
to be ordered out by a Mexican armed force to Monterey, and then to be 
buffeted about for a year or more before he was safely settled. The Indians 



50 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

disliked the Spanish element, and greatly harassed Sutter ; but he made 
treaties with them and dealt with them justly, and they finally became his 
faithful servitors and friends. 

Sutter's Fort was headquarters for all new-comers ; and he was espec- 
ially kind to all immigrants in distress. But for his kindly aid hardly a 
member of the Donner Party would have been saved. Sacramento City, 
with its well-laid-out streets, parks and water front, is a debtor to his gen- 
erosity. He may have been careless and improvident in certain ways, but he 
was industrious, and through his industry he became rich. Yet, strange to 
say, the discovery of gold in his mill-race by Marshall, his partner, was des- 
tined to be his ruination. He was robbed to poverty, and that, too, by many 
he had aided while they were in distress. The new-comers squatted on his 
lands and defied him to eject them. The United States commissioners, or 
court for settling land grants, found in his favor for both his grants, the 
New Helvetia Grant of eleven leagues and the Sobrante Grant of twenty- 
two leagues. The squatters and their lawyers appealed to the United States 
District Court for the Northern District of California, and Sutter's rights 
under the Land Commissioners' Court were confirmed. The squatters then 
appealed to the Supreme Court at Washington, which court approved the 
New Helvetia Grant but rejected the Sobrante Grant. The court acknowl- 
edged that the latter grant was a "genuine and meritorious" one, but decided 
against Sutter on purely technical grounds. Sutter claimed his losses in 
about ten years were approximately $325,000. Many of his deeds, issued for 
lands sold out of the Sobrante Grant, were warranty in character, and later 
he was compelled to make good out of his New Helvetia Grant, after the 
adverse Supreme Court decision in Washington. The valuable Hock Farm, 
in Sutter County, was finally lost to him by the burning of the farm mansion 
in 1865 ; and soon mortgagees took the lands. It seemed as if the fates 
pursued him with a special vengeance from the day gold was discovered in 
California to the day of his death. 

General Sutter died in Washington, D. C, on June 18, 1880, and was 
buried at Lititz, Lancaster County, Pa., where he had lived during his latter 
years with his family, still trying to have Congress recognize his claim for 
$50,000 as compensation for the aid he had rendered to the early settlers of 
California. The State of California for a time gave him an allowance. 

Shuck's Account of the Life of Sutter 

The best account that I have read of this early-day benefactor of the 
pioneers was written by Oscar T. Shuck. In his work, "Representative 
Men of the Pacific," he gives much accurate information of the generous 
old pioneer. The facts, as recited, came from General Sutter. I quote quite 
fully from Thompson and West's History of Placer County, published in 
1882. Quoting from Mr. Shuck (p. 39) : 

"Gen. John A. Sutter was born March 1, 1803, in the Grand Duchy of 
Baden, where his early boyhood was passed. His father, who was a clergy- 
man of the Lutheran Church, afterwards removed to Switzerland, and settled 
there with his family. He purchased for himself and heirs the rights and im- 
munities of Swiss citizenship, and there the subject of our sketch received 
a good education, both civil and military. 

"Early in life he married a Bernese lady, and was blessed with several 
children. At the age of thirty-one he determined to gratify a desire he 
had long cherished to immigrate to the United States. Not knowing whether 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 51 

or not he should settle in the Great Republic, he concluded to leave his 
family behind him and arrived at New York in July, 1834. After visiting- 
several of the Western States he settled in Missouri, and there resided for 
several years. During his residence in Missouri he made a short visit to 
New Mexico, where he met with many trappers and hunters who had re- 
turned from Upper California, and their glowing descriptions confirmed 
his previous impressions, and excited an ardent desire to behold and wander 
over the rich lands and beautiful valleys of that then almost unknown region. 
Upon returning to Missouri he determined to reach the Pacific Coast by- 
joining some one of the trapping expeditions of the American or English 
fur companies. But great obstacles were to be surmounted and long years 
were to intervene before his feet would rest upon the virgin soil of California. 
On the 1st of April, 1838, he was enabled for the first time to connect him- 
self with a trapping expedition. On that day he left Missouri with Cap- 
tain Tripp, of the American Fur Company, and traveled with his party to 
their rendezvous in the Rocky Mountains. There he parted with the ex- 
pedition, and with six horsemen crossed the mountains, and, after encounter- 
ing the usual dangers and hardships, arrived at Fort Vancouver, on the Col- 
umbia River. 

"Having learned that there was no land communication with California 
from the valleys of the Columbia or Willamette in winter, and there being 
then a vessel of the Hudson Bay Company ready to sail for the Sandwich 
Islands, General Sutter took passage, hoping to find at the islands some 
means of conveyance to California. Only one of the men who had remained 
with him thus far consented to accompany him to the strange land. On 
reaching the islands he found no prospect of conveyance, and, after re- 
maining five months, as the only means of accomplishing his purpose, he 
shipped as supercargo, without pay, on an English vessel bound for Sitka. 

''After discharging her cargo at Sitka, and with the authority of the 
owners, he directed the vessel southward and sailed down the coast, en- 
countering heavy gales. He was driven into the Bay of San Francisco in 
distress, and, on the second day of July, 1839, anchored his little craft op- 
posite Yerba Buena, now San Francisco. 

"He was immediately waited upon by a Mexican official with an armed 
force, and ordered to leave without delay, the officer informing him that 
Monterey was the port of entry. He succeeded, however, in obtaining per- 
mission to remain forty-eight hours to get supplies. 

"A few days later, upon arriving at Monterey, General Sutter waited 
upon Governor Alvarado, and communicated to him his desire to settle in 
Upper California, on the Sacramento. Governor Alvarado expressed much 
satisfaction upon learning his visitor's wish, particularly when he under- 
stood his desire to settle on the Sacramento ; saying that the Indians in that 
quarter were very hostile, and would not permit any whites to settle there: 
that they robbed the inhabitants of San Jose and the lower settlements of 
horses and cattle. He readily gave Sutter a passport, with authority to 
settle on any territory he should deem suitable for his colony, and request- 
ed him to return to Monterey one year from that time, when his Mexican 
citizenship would be acknowledged, and he would receive a grant for the 
land he might solicit. Thereupon he returned to Verba Buena and char- 
tered a schooner, with some small boats, and started upon an exploring 
expedition on the Sacramento River. 

"Upon inquiry he could not find any one at Yerba Buena who had ever 
seen the Sacramento River, or who could describe to him where he could 
find its mouth. The people of that place only professed to know thai some 
large river emptied into one of the connected bays lying northerly from 



52 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

their town. General Sutter consumed eight days in an effort to find the 
mouth of the Sacramento River. 

"After ascending the river to a point about ten miles below where Sac- 
ramento City now stands, he encountered the first large party of Indians, 
who exhibited every sign of hostility save an actual attack. There were 
about two hundred of them, armed and painted for war. Fortunately there 
were among them two who understood Spanish, and with whom the General 
engaged in conversation. He quieted them by the assurance that there were 
no Spaniards in his party, and that he wished to settle in their country and 
trade with them. He showed them his agricultural implements and com- 
modities of trade, which he had provided for the purpose, and proposed to 
make a treaty with them. Pleased with these assurances, the Indians be- 
came reconciled ; the crowd dispersed, and the two who spoke the Spanish 
language accompanied Sutter and his party as far as the mouth of Feather 
River, to show him the country. All other parties of Indians seen fled at 
the sight of the vessel boats. 

"Parting with his two Indian interpreters and guides at the mouth of 
Feather River, he ascended the latter stream to a considerable distance, when 
a few of his white men became alarmed at the surrounding dangers and 
insisted upon returning, which he was constrained to do. 

"On his descent he entered the mouth of the American River, and on 
the 15th day of August, 1839, landed at a point on the south bank of that 
stream, where he afterwards established his tannery, within the present 
limits of Sacramento. On the following morning, after landing all his effects 
he informed the discontented whites that all who wished to return to Yerba 
Buena could do so ; that the Kanakas were willing to remain, and that he had 
resolved to do so, if alone. Three of the whites determined to leave, and he 
put them in possession of the schooner, with instructions to deliver the 
vessel to her owners. They set sail for Yerba Buena the same day. 

"Three weeks thereafter General Sutter removed to the spot upon which 
he afterwards erected Fort Sutter. In the early days of the settlement he 
encountered many troubles with the Indians, who organized secret expedi- 
tions, as he afterwards learned, to destroy him and his party; but he con- 
trived to defeat and frustrate all their machinations, and those of the In- 
dians who were at first his greatest enemies came to be his best and most 
steadfast friends. He now devoted himself energetically to agriculture, and 
became very wealthy and prosperous. 

"In the fall of the year 1839, he purchased of Sefior Martinez three hun- 
dred head of cattle, thirty horses, and thirty mares. During the fall eight 
more white men joined his colony. When he commenced the improvements 
that resulted in the erection of Sutter's Fort and his establishment there, 
he had much trouble in procuring suitable lumber and timber. He floated 
some down the American River from the mountains, and was compelled 
to send to Bodega, on the sea coast, a distance of several hundred miles. 

"In August, 1840, Sutter was joined by the five men who had crossed the 
Rocky Mountains with him, and whom he had left in Oregon. His colony 
now numbered twenty-five men, seventeen whites and eight Kanakas. Dur- 
ing the fall of that year the Mokelumne Indians became troublesome, by 
stealing the livestock of the settlers, and compelled General Sutter, by their 
acts and menaces, to make open war against them. He marched with his 
forces thirty miles, in the night time, to the camp of the Indians, where they 
were concentrating large forces for a movement against him, some two 
hundred warriors, and attacked them with such great effect that they retreat- 
ed ; and being hotly pursued, they sued for peace, which was readily granted 
and ever afterward mutually maintained. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 53 

"Shortly after this encounter, Sutter purchased one thousand more head 
of cattle, and seventy-five horses and mules. His colony continued to in- 
crease fast, by the addition of every foreigner who came into the country ; 
they sought his place as one of security. The trappers he furnished with 
supplies, and purchased their furs ; the mechanics and laborers he either 
employed or procured them work. 

"In June, 1841, he visited Monterey, the capital, where he was declared 
a Mexican citizen, and received from Governor Alvarado a grant for his 
land, under the name of New Helvetia, a survey of which he had caused to be 
made before that time. Thereupon he was honored with a commission as 
'Represendente del Gobierno en las fronteras del norte y encargado de la 
justicia.' 

"Soon after his return to his settlement he was visited by Captain Rin- 
gold, of the United States Exploring Expedition under Commodore Wilkes, 
and about the same time by Alexander Rotcheff, Gove 'nor of the Russian 
possessions, Ross and Bodega, who offered to sell to General Sutter the Rus- 
sian possessions, settlements, and ranches at those places. 

"The terms were such as induced him to make the purchase, for thirty 
thousand dollars. The live stock consisted of two thousand cattle, over one 
thousand horses, fifty mules, and two thousand sheep, the greater part of 
which were driven to New Helvetia. This increase of resources, together 
with the natural increase of his stock, enabled him the more rapidly to 
advance his settlement and improvements. 

"In the year 1844 he petitioned Governor Micheltorena for the grant 
or purchase of the Sobrante, or surplus, over the first eleven leagues of the 
land within the bounds of the survey accompanying the Alvarado grant, 
which the Governor agreed to let him have ; but, for causes growing out of 
existing political troubles, the grant was not finally executed until the 5th 
of February, 1845, during which time he had rendered valuable military 
services and advanced to the Government large amounts of property and 
outlays, exceeding eight thousand dollars, to enable it to suppress the Cas- 
tro rebellion ; in consideration of all which he acquired by purchase and per- 
sonal services the land called the Sobrante, or surplus. 

"At that time he also secured from Governor Micheltorena the com- 
mission of 'Comandante militar de las fronteras del norte y encargo de la 
justicia.' After this time the war between the United States and Mexico 
came on, and although General Sutter was an officer under the Mexican 
Government, and bound to it by his allegiance, yet, upon all occasions, such 
was his respect towards the citizens and institutions of the United States, 
that whenever any party of American citizens, civil or military service, visited 
him. his unbounded hospitalities were uniformly and cordially extended to 
them ; and when the country surrendered to the American forces, the General, 
who had been for some time convinced of the instability of the Mexican 
Government, upon request, did, on the 11th day of July, 1846, hoist the 
American flag with a good heart, accompanied with a salute of artillery 
from the guns at the fort. Soon after this Lieutenant Missoon, of the 
United States Navy, came up and organized a garrison for Sutter's Fort. 
principally out of his former forces of whites and Indians, and gave to 
General Sutter the command, which he maintained until peace returned. Ik- 
was then appointed by Commodore Stockton Alcalde of the district, and 
by General Kearney Indian agent, with a salary of seven hundred and fifty 
dollars a year; but a single trip in discharge of his duty as Indian agent 
cost him one thousand six hundred dollars, and he resigned the office. 



54 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

"General Sutter was now in the full tide of prosperity ; his settlement 
continued to grow and his property to accumulate, until the latter part of 
January, 1848. He had then completed his establishment at the fort ; had 
performed all the conditions of his grants of land; had, at an expense of at 
least twenty-five thousand dollars, cut a race of three miles in length, and 
nearly completed a flouring-mill near the present town of Brighton ; had ex- 
pended towards the erection of a sawmill, near the town of Coloma, about ten 
thousand dollars ; had sown over a thousand acres of land in wheat which 
promised a yield of forty thousand bushels, and had made preparations for 
other crops ; was then the owner of eight thousand head of cattle, over two 
thousand horses and mules, over two thousand sheep, and one thousand head 
of hogs, and was in the undisturbed, undisputed and quiet possession of 
the extensive lands granted by the Mexican Government. But a sad change 
was about to take place in the affairs of the old pioneer ; a grand event was 
about to transpire, which, while it would delight and electrify the world 
at large, was destined to check the growth of the settlement at Sutter's Fort. 
General Sutter's mills were soon to cease operations ; his laborers and me- 
chanics were soon to desert him; his possessions, his riches, his hopes 
were soon to be scattered and destroyed before the impetuous charge 
of the gold-hunters. The immediate effect was that Sutter was deserted by 
all his mechanics and laborers, white, Kanaka and Indian. The mills thus 
deserted became a dead loss ; he could not hire labor to further plant or 
mature his crops, or reap but a small part after the grain had ripened. Few 
hands were willing to work for even an ounce a day, as the industrious could 
make more than that in the mines. Consequent to the gold discovery there 
was an immense immigration, composed of all classes of men, many of whom 
seemed to have no idea of the rights of property. The treaty between the 
United States and Mexico guaranteed to the Mexican who should remain 
in the country a protection of his property, and Sutter regarded himself as 
doubly entitled to that protection, either as a Mexican or as a citizen of the 
United States, and that he held a strong claim upon his country's justice. 
His property was respected for a season ; but when the great flood of im- 
migration, which poured into the country in 1849-1850, found that money 
could be made by other means than mining, many of the new-comers forci- 
bly entered upon his land, and commenced cutting his wood under the plea 
that it was vacant and unappropriated land of the United States. Up to the 
1st of January, 1852, the settlers had occupied all his lands capable of settle- 
ment or appropriation, and the other class had stolen all his horses, mules, 
cattle, sheep and hogs, save a small portion used and sold by himself. One 
party of five men, during the high waters of 1849-1850, when his cattle were 
partly surrounded by water near the Sacramento River, killed and sold 
enough to amount to sixty thousand dollars. 

"Having seen his power decline and his riches take wings, General 
Sutter removed to the west bank of Feather River, and took up his residence 
at Hock Farm. Here, in the midst of his family, who had recently arrived 
from Europe, he led the life of a farmer in the county that bears his name." 

Bryant's Description of Sutter's Fort 

The following interesting and accurate description of Sutter's Fort, 
before the gold discovery, is from Edwin Bryant's work, "What I Saw in 
California," published in 1849. Mr. Bryant, with a party of nine persons, left 
Independence, Mo., on the 1st of May, 1846, and reached Sutter's Fort about 
midsummer, when he took the following observations : 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 55 

''Sept. 1, 1846. A clear, pleasant morning. We took a south course down 
the valley, and at 4 o'clock, p. m., reached the residence of John Sinclair, Esq., 
on the Rio de los Americanos, about two miles east of Sutter's Fort. The 
valley of.the Sacramento, as far as we have traveled down it, is from thirty 
to forty miles in width, from the foot of the low benches of the Sierra Nevada 
to the elevated range of hills on the western side. The composition of the 
soil appears to be such as to render it highly productive, with proper cultiva- 
tion, of the small grains. The ground is trodden up by immense herds of 
cattle and horses, which grazed here early in the spring, when it was wet 
and apparently miry. We passed through large evergreen oak groves, some 
of them miles in width. Game is very abundant. We frequently saw deer 
feeding quietly one or two hundred yards from us, and large flocks of 
antelopes. 

"Air. Sinclair, with a number of horses and Indians, was engaged in 
threshing wheat. His crop this year, he informed me, would be about three 
thousand bushels. The soil of his rancho, situated in the bottom of the Rio 
de los Americanos, just above its junction with the Sacramento, is highly 
fertile. His wheat-fields are secured against the numerous herds of cattle 
and horses, which constitute the largest item in the husbandry of this coun- 
try, by ditches about five feet in depth, and four or five feet over at the 
surface. The dwelling-house and outhouses of Mr. Sinclair are all constructed 
after American models, and present a most comfortable and neat appearance. 
It was a pleasant scene, after having traveled many months in the wilder- 
ness, to survey this abode of apparent thrift and enjoyment, resembling so 
nearly those we had left in the far-off country behind us. 

"In searching for the ford over the Rio de los Americanos, in order to 
proceed on to Sutter's Fort, I saw a lady of a graceful, though fragile figure, 
dressed in the costume of our own countrywomen. She was giving some 
directions to her female servants, and did not discover me until I spoke to 
her, and inquired the position of the ford. Her pale and delicate, but hand- 
some and expressive, countenance indicated much surprise, produced by my 
sudden and unexpected salutation. But. collecting herself, she replied to 
my inquiry in vernacular English, and the sounds of her voice, speaking our 
own language, and her civilized appearance, were highly pleasing. This lady, 
I presume, was Airs. Sinclair; but I never saw her afterwards. 

"Crossing the Rio de los Americanos, the waters of which, at this season, 
are quite shallow at the ford, we proceeded over a well-beaten road to Sutter's 
Fort, arriving there when the sun was about an hour and a half high. Rid- 
ing up to the front gate. I saw two Indian sentinels pacing to and fro before 
it, and several Americans, or foreigners (as all who are not Californians by 
birth are here called), sitting in the gateway, dressed in buckskin pantaloons 
and blue sailor shirts, with white stars worked on the collars. I inquired 
if Captain Sutter was in the fort. A very small man, with a peculiarly sharp 
red face and a most voluble tongue, gave the response. He was probably 
a corporal. He said, in substance, that perhaps I was not aware of the great 
changes which had recently taken place in California; that the fort belonged 
to the United States, and that Captain Sutter, although he was in the fort, had 
no control over it. He was going into a minute history of the complicated 
c:rcumstances and events which had produced this result, when 1 reminded 
him that we were too much fatigued to listen to a long discourse, but if 
Captain Sutter was inside the walls, and could conveniently slop to the gate 
a moment, I would be glad to see him. A lazy-looking Indian with a ruminat- 
ing countenance, after some time spent in parleying, was dispatched with my 
message to Captain Sutter. 

"Soon Captain Sutter came to the gate, and saluted us with much gentle- 
manly courtesy and friendly cordiality. He said that events had transpired 



56 HXSTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

in the country which, to his deep regret, had so far deprived him of the con- 
trol of his own property that he did not feel authorized to invite us inside 
of the walls to remain. The fort, he said was occupied by soldiers under 
the pay of the United States, and commanded by Mr. Kern. 1 replied to 
him that, although it would be something of a novelty to sleep under a roof, 
after our late nomadic life, it was a matter of small consideration. If he 
would supply us with some meat, a little salt, and such vegetables as he might 
have, we neither asked nor desired more from his hospitality, which we all 
knew was liberal, to the highest degree of generosity. 

"A servant was immediately dispatched with orders to furnish us with a 
supply of beef, salt, melons, onions, and tomatoes, for which no compensa- 
tion would be received. We proceeded immediately to a grove of live-oak 
timber, about two miles west of the fort, and encamped within half a mile 
of the Sacramento River. . . . 

"He (Captain Sutter) planted himself on the spot where his fort now 
stands, then a savage wilderness, and in the midst of numerous and hostile 
tribes of Indians. With the small party of men which he originally brought 
with him, he succeeded in defending himself against the Indians, until he con- 
structed his first defensive building. He told me that, several times being 
hemmed in by his assailants, he had subsisted for many days upon grass 
alone. There is a grass in this valley which the Indians eat, that is pleasant 
to the taste, and nutritious. He succeeded by degrees in reducing the Indians 
to obedience, and by means of their labor erected the spacious fortification 
which now belongs to him. 

"The fort is a parallelogram, about five hundred feet in length, and one 
hundred and fifty in breadth. The walls are constructed of adobes or sun- 
dried bricks. The main building, or residence, stands near the center of the 
area, or court, inclosed by the walls. A row of shops, store-rooms, and bar- 
racks are inclosed within, and line the walls on every side. Bastions project 
from the angles, mounted in which, ordnance sweeps the walls. The prin- 
cipal gates on the east and the south are also defended by heavy artillery, 
through portholes pierced in the walls. At this time the fort is manned by 
about fifty well-disciplined Indians, and ten or twelve white men, all under 
the pay of the United States. These Indians are well clothed and fed. The 
garrison is under the command of Mr. Kern, the artist of Captain Fremont's 
exploring expedition. 

"The number of laboring Indians employed by Captain Sutter during 
the seasons of sowing and harvest is from two to three hundred. Some of 
these are clothed in shirts and blankets, but a large portion of them are en- 
tirely naked. They are paid so much per day for their labor, in such articles 
and merchandise as they may select from the store. Common red handker- 
chiefs are what they most freely purchase. Common brown cotton cloth 
sells at one dollar per yard. A tin coin issued by Captain Sutter circulates 
among them, upon which is stamped the number of days that the holder has 
labored. These stamps indicate the value in merchandise to which the laborer 
or holder is entitled. 

"They are inveterate gamblers, and those who have been so fortunate as 
to obtain clothing frequently stake and part with every rag upon their backs. 
The game which they most generally play is carried on as follows : Any 
number which may be concerned in it seat themselves cross-legged on the 
ground, in a circle. They are then divided into two parties, each of which 
has two champions or players. A ball or some small article is placed in the 
hands of the players on one side, which they transfer from hand to hand 
with such sleight and dexterity that it is nearly impossible to detect the 
changes. When the players holding the balls make a particular motion with 
their hands, the antagonist players guess in which hand the balls are at the 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 57 

time. If the guess is wrong, it counts one in favor of the playing party. If 
the guess is right, then it counts one in favor of the guessing party, and the 
balls are transferred to them. The count of the game is kept with sticks. 
During the progress of the game, all concerned keep up a continual monoton- 
ous grunting, with a movement of their bodies to keep time with their grunts. 
The articles which are staked on the game are placed in the center of the ring. 

"The laboring or field Indians about the fort are fed upon the offal of 
slaughtered animals, and upon the bran sifted from the ground wheat. This 
is boiled in large iron kettles. It is then placed in wooden troughs standing 
in the court, around which the several messes seat themselves, and scoop out 
with their hands this poor fodder. Bad as it is, they eat it with an apparent 
high relish ; and no doubt it is more palatable and more healthy than the 
acorn mush, or atole, which constitutes the principal food of these Indians in 
their wild state. 

"The wheat crop of Captain Sutter, the present year (1846), is about 
eight thousand bushels. The season has not been a favorable one. The 
average yield to the acre. Captain Sutter estimated at twenty-five bushe's. 
In favorable seasons this yield is doubled ; and if we can believe the state- 
ments often made upon respectable authority, it is sometimes quad- 
rupled. . . . The wheat-fields of Captain Sutter are secured against the 
cattle and horses by ditches. Agriculture, among the native Californ : ans, is 
in a very primitive state, and although Captain Sutter has introduced some 
American implements, still his ground is but imperfectly cultivated. . . . 

"Wheat is selling at the fort at two dollars and fifty cents per fanega, 
rather more than two bushels English measure. It brings the same price 
when delivered at San Francisco, near the mouth of the Bay of San Francisco. 
It is transported from the Sacramento Valley to a market in launches of 
about fifty tons burden. Unbolted flour sells at eight dollars per one hun- 
dred pounds. The reason of this high price is the scarcity of flouring-mills 
in the country. The mills which are now going up in various places will 
reduce the price of flour, and probably they will soon be able to grind all the 
wheat raised in the country. The streams of California afford excellent 
water-power, but the flour consumed by Captain Sutter is ground by a very 
ordinary horse-mill. 

"I saw near the fort a small patch of hemp, which had been sown as an 
experiment in the spring, and had not been irrigated. I never saw a ranker 
growth of hemp in Kentucky. Vegetables of several kinds appeared to be 
abundant, and in perfection. . . . 

"Captain Sutter's dining-room and his table furniture do not present a 
very luxurious appearance. The room is unfurnished, with the exception of 
a common deal table standing in the center, and some benches, which are 
substitutes for chairs. The table, when spread, presented a correspondingly 
primitive simplicity of aspect and of viands. The first course consisted of 
good soup, served to each guest, in a china bowl, with silver spoons. The 
bowls, after they had been used for this purpose, were taken away and 
cleaned by the Indian servant, and were afterwards used as tumblers or 
goblets, from which we drank our water. The next course consisted of two 
dishes of meat, one roasted and one fried, and both highly seasoned with 
onions. Bread, cheese, butter, and melons constituted the dessert. . . . 

"Such has been the extortion of the Government in the way ol import 
duties, that few supplies which are included even among the most ordinary 
elegancies of life, have ever reached the inhabitants, and for these they 
have been compelled to pay prices that would be astonishing to a citizen of 
the United States or of Europe, and such as have impoverished tin- popula- 
tion. As a general fact, they cannot be obtained at any price, and hence 



58 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

those who have the ability to purchase are compelled to forego their use 
from necessity. 

"The site of the town of Nueva Helvetia, which has been laid out by 
Captain Sutter, is about a mile and a half from the Sacramento. It is on an 
elevation of the plain, and not subject to overflow when the waters of the 
river are at their highest known point. There are now but three or four 
small houses in this town, but I have little doubt that it will soon become a 
place of importance. 

"Near the Embarcadero of New Helvetia is a large Indian 'sweat-house,' 
or temescal, an appendage of most of the rancherias." 

A Deed to Land in New Helvetia 

The following old-time warranty deed of August 10, 1843, was recorded 
in San Frandsco and Sacramento before any county governments were 
established. 

"Know all men by these presents, that I John Augustus Sutter of 
Nuava Helvetia, a citizen of California, do give grant and convey unto 
Eliab Grimes, Hiram Grimes and John Sinclair, their heirs, administrators 
and assigns, a certain piece or parcel of land situated in Neuava Helvetia 
aforesaid, and described as follows to wit : Bounded by the river Sacra- 
mento running North westerly to the mouth of Feather River, from thence 
in an easterly direction meeting the said John Augustus Sutter's north- 
eastern boundary, the southern boundary commencing at the mouth of the 
River called the American Fork said river being the Southern boundary, 
running in an easterly direction meeting the aforesaid Sutter's north-eastern 
boundary. The said land is uncultivated, well wooded and water : Together 
with all the privileges and appurtenances to the said land in any way and 
wise appertaining and belonging. To have and to hold the above granted 
premises in the same manner as I now hold it from the Mexican Govern- 
ment, to the said Eliab Grimes, Hiram Grimes and John Sinclair, their 
heirs, administrators and assigns, to their use and behalf forever, and I 
the said John Augustus Sutter, for myself my heirs, executors and admin- 
istrators, do covenant with the said Eliab Grimes, Hiram Grimes and 
John Sinclair, their heirs and assigns, that I am lawfully seized in fee of 
the aforegranted premises ; that they are free from all incumbrances, that 
I have good right to dispose and convey the same to the said Eliab Grimes, 
Hiram Grimes, and John Sinclair as aforesaid, and that I will and my heirs 
executors and administrators shall warrant and defend the same to the said 
Eliab Grimes, Hiram Grimes, and John Sinclair, their heirs and assigns 
forever, against the lawful demands of all persons. 

"It is understood and agreed that the northern boundary line com- 
mences at the mouth of the Feather River, and runs due east to said John 
Augustus Sutter's northeasterly boundary line — the distance being Sixteen 
Miles, the southern boundary line runs Thirteen Miles. 

"In testimony whereof I the said John Augustus Sutter, have hereunto 
set my hand and seal this tenth day of August, in the year Eighteen hun- 
dred and forty-three. 
"Signed Sealed and Delivered in J. A. Sutter (Seal) 

presence of us. C. W. Flugge 

Sam A. Reynolds 
"Recorded, San Francisco, June 11/49 J. P. Haven 

Noty Public (A) Thompson Campbell. 

"Received for Record June 1th 1849. and recorded in Register A of 
Deeds for Sacramento, Cal. pages 60 and 61. Henry A. Schoolcraft, Recorder 
&c of Sacramento — California — (Fees $10.) 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 59 

"Filed for record October 31st, A D 1855, at 2 o'clock P.M. and duly 
recorded the same, on same day on pages 308 and 309 of Book "D" Sutter 
County Land Records. 

Attest C. E. Wilcoxon, Recorder, 
By H. S. McArthur, D. C. 
"State of California ] 
County of Placer ) 

"Reed for record Nov. 12th 1855. at 10 o'clk A. M. and duly recorded 
on the same day in Book "B" of Deeds of Placer County pages 289 and 290. 

A. S. Grant Recorder 

By Wm. H. Martin Depty." 



CHAPTER IV 

JOHN C. FREMONT 

John Charles Fremont, as explorer, military officer, and statesman, 
played an important part in bringing California into the United States. 
Born in South Carolina, he was first candidate of the Republican Party in 
1856 for the Presidency. Well educated and traveled, he married the bril- 
liant daughter of Thomas H. Benton, who for many years was the powerful 
Senator from Missouri, regarded by the Southern States as one of their 
greatest champions. 

Fremont was a natural explorer, and by his explorations the claim of 
the United States to the territory along the Pacific was materially strength- 
ened. Our title to the territory now comprised in Oregon and Washington 
was deemed good, yet the Hudson Bay Company of Canada, with their fur 
trappers and hunters, had been flocking into the territory in great numbers. 
James K. Polk, a Southern man, had been elected in 1844 under the slogan, 
"Fifty-four-forty or fight." The extreme northern boundary line was 
claimed by many of our citizens, as against Canada and Great Britain, even 
up to the south point of the Russian possessions on the Pacific ; but the 
matter slumbered after election. 

About that time, however, rumors were whispered about that England 
had designs on the weakly governed territory of California; and on July 7, 
1846, Commodore Sloat, of the United States Navy, beat the British rear- 
admiral, Sir George Seymour, and his fleet into California's capital. Monterey, 
where the British commander found the Stars and Stripes flying on his 
arrival. Moreover, war with Mexico was now anticipated. It has even 
been charged that war was desired for political reasons, since the South 
needed more slave territory. Whether this be true or false, it is surely a fact 
that during this period of political uncertainty on the Pacific Coast, to the 
north and to the south, John C. Fremont, the "Pathfinder." made almost 
yearly exploring expeditions to the Rockv Mountains, the Oregon country, 
and down into California, starting his expeditions as early as 1842, and con- 
tinuing them until he was safely elected one of the United States senators 
from California by the legislature which met on December 15. 1S4'», at San 



60 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Jose. It may be almost literally said that California was explored into the 
Union by Gen. John C. Fremont. 

Fremont may also be called one of the earliest pioneers and descriptive 
writers of the future County of Placer. He first set foot in the future county 
on or about the 6th of March, 1844, on his first trip oyer the mountains. He 
says that he followed down the north bank of the South Fork of the Ameri- 
can River, then crossed the North Fork of the river (at our present south- 
east corner), and from there followed down the river until opposite Sutter's 
Fort. His sketch map shows the same route. 

Fremont's next trip into California brought him over the divide on 
December 5, 1845. A few extracts from his memoirs of this trip up over the 
summit, near the present Town of Truckee, are given below. He speaks of 
the emigrant road, when he reached the summit, following down a fork of 
the Bear River which leads from the pass into the Sacramento Valley. He 
evidently was mistaken relative to the Bear River, which starts near Emi- 
grant Gap, in Bear Valley. The old emigrant road ran down the Yuba 
River for some distance and then over the ridge into Bear Valley. Fremont 
says he turned to the south and, with slow traveling, reached Grimes' Rancho 
on the American Fork, near Sutter's Fort, on the 9th of December. He 
described in an interesting manner the pine and oak timber through which 
he passed. The extracts follow. 

* "Leaving them in good order, and cheerful at the prospect of escaping 
from the winter into the beautiful 'California Valley,' as it was then called, 
we separated, and I took up my route for the river which flows into Pyramid 
Lake, and which on my last journey I had named Salmon-Trout River. 

"I now entered a region which hardship had made familiar to me, and I 
was not compelled to feel my way, but used every hour of the day to press 
forward towards the pass at the head of this river. 

"On the 1st of December I struck it above the lower canon, and on the 
evening of the 4th camped at its head on the east side of the pass in the 
Sierra Nevada. Our effort had been to reach the pass before a heavy fall 
of snow, and we had succeeded. All night we watched the sky, ready to 
attempt the passage with the first indication of falling snow ; but the sky 
continued clear. On our way up, the fine weather which we had left at the 
foot of the mountain continued to favor us ; and when we reached the pass, 
the only snow showing was on the peaks of the mountains. 

"At three in the afternoon the temperature was 46° ; at sunset 34°. The 
observation of the night gave for the longitude of the pass, 120° 15' 20", 
and for latitude 39° 17' 12". Early the next morning we climbed the rocky 
ridge which faces the eastern side, and at sunrise were on the crest of the 
divide, 7200 feet above the sea ; the sky perfectly clear, and the temperature 
22°. There was no snow in the pass, but already it showed apparently deep 
on higher ridges and mountain-tops. The emigrant road now passed here 
following down a fork of Bear River, which leads from the pass into the 
Sacramento Valley. Finding this a rugged way, I turned to the south and 
encamped in a mountain-meadow where the grass was fresh and green. We 
had made good our passage of the mountain and entered now among the 
grand vegetation of the California valley. Even if the snow should now 
begin to fall, we could outstrip it into the valley, where the winter king al- 
ready shrunk from the warm breath of spring. 

* Extracts from "Memoirs of My Life," by John Charles Fremont, pages 439-441. 
Crossing the summit of the Sierra Nevadas, near Truckee, on December 5, 1845. Second 
trip into California and third exploring expedition. (Fremont's letter of January 24, 1946, 
to his wife, says: "Crossing the Sierras on the 4th of December.") 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 61 

"The route the next day led over good travelling ground ; gaining a broad 
leading ridge we travelled along through the silence of a noble pine forest 
where many of the trees were of great height and uncommon size. The tall 
red columns standing closely on the clear ground, the filtered, flickering 
sunshine from their summits, far overhead, gave the dim religious light 
of cathedral aisles, opening out on every side, one after the other, as we 
advanced. Later, in early spring, these forest grounds are covered with a 
blue carpet of forget-me-nots. 

"The pines of the European forests would hide their diminished heads 
amidst these great columns of the Sierra. A species of cedar (Thuya gigantea) 
occurred often of extraordinary bulk and height. Pinus Lambertiani was 
one of the most frequent trees, distinguished among cone-bearing tribes by 
the length of its cones, which are sometimes sixteen or eighteen inches long. 
The Indians eat the inner part of the burr, and I noticed large heaps of them 
where they had been collected. 

"Leaving the higher ridges, we gained the smoother spurs and descended 
about 4000 feet, the face of the country rapidly changing as we went down. 
The country becomes low and rolling ; pines began to disappear, and varieties 
of oak, principally an evergreen resembling live oak, became the predominat- 
ing forest growth. The oaks bear great quantities of acorns, which are the 
principal food of all the wild Indians ; it is their bread-fruit tree. At a village 
of a few huts which we came upon there was a large supply of these acorns, 
eight or ten cribs of wicker-work containing about twenty bushels each. 
The sweetest and best acorns, somewhat resembling Italian chestnuts in 
taste, are obtained from a large tree belonging to the division of white oak, 
distinguished by the length of its acorn, which is commonly an inch and a 
half and sometimes two inches. This long acorn characterizes the tree, which 
is a new species and is accordingly specified by Dr. Torrey as Quercus longi- 
glanda (Tor. and Frem.) — long-acorn oak. This tree is very abundant 
and generally forms the groves on the bottom-lands of the streams, standing 
apart with a green undergrowth of grass which gives the appearance of 
cultivated parks. It is a noble forest tree, sixty to eighty feet high with a 
summit of wide-spreading branches, and frequently attains a diameter of 
six feet ; the largest that we measured reached eleven feet. The evergreen 
oaks generally have a low growth with long branches and spreading tops. 

At our encampment on the evening of the 8th, on a stream which I 
named Hamilton's Creek, we had come down to an elevation of 500 feet 
above the sea. The temperature at sunset was 48°, the sky clear, the weather 
calm and delightful, and the vegetation that of early spring. We were still 
upon the foot-hills of the mountains, where -the soil is sheltered by woods 
and where rain falls much more frequently than in the open Sacramento 
Valley, near the edge of which we then were. I have been in copious contin- 
uous rains of eighteen or twenty hours' duration, in the oak region of the 
mountain, when none fell in the valley below. Innumerable small streams 
have their rise through these foot-hills, which often fail to reach the river 
of the valley, but are absorbed in its light soil; the large streams coming 
from the upper part of the mountain make valleys of their own of fertile 
soil, covered with luxuriant grass and interspersed with groves. 

"The oak belt of the mountain is the favorite range of the Indians. I 
found many small villages scattered through it. They select places near 
the streams where there are large boulders of granite rock that show every- 
where holes which they had used for mortars in which to pound the acorns. 
These are always pretty spots. The clean, smooth granite rocks standing 
out from the green of the fresh grass over which the great oaks throw their 
shade, and the clear running water, are pleasant to eye and car. 

"After the rough passage and scanty food of the Basin, these lovely 
spots, with the delightful spring weather, fresh grass and flowers, and run- 



62 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

ning water, together with the abundant game, tempted us to make early 
camp ; so that we were about four days in coming down to the valley. 

"Travelling in this way slowly along, taking the usual astronomical 
observations and notes of the country, we reached on the 9th of December 
the Grimes Rancho on what was then still known as Rio de los Americanos 
— the American Fork, near Sutter's Fort." 

President Polk secured a treaty with England on June 15, 1846, fixing 
our north boundary line at the- 49th degree of latitude. We gave England 
everything she asked. "Fifty-four-forty or fight" was a forgotten slogan. 
Ridpath, the historian, says : "It is certain that better terms might have 
been demanded and obtained." 

The writer, in 1876, was traveling through the Southern States with 
a young man who taught school at Newcastle, this county, in 1872, Mr. 
George S. Paine. We were visiting the State capitol building in Nashville, 
Tenn., on June 7, 1876, and also viewing the beautiful city in general, with 
its churches, colleges, State prison, cemeteries, parks, old forts, and sur- 
rounding battle-fields. While walking along one of the main streets in the 
residential section, we saw, back from the street on a gentle elevation, a 
beautiful Southern home. In the middle of the spacious grounds, near the 
pathway to the house, was a fine marble monument. The surroundings 
seemed semi-public, and venturing, we found ourselves before the monument 
over the grave of James K. Polk. While we were standing there and medi- 
tating on the important events that had taken place in the history of our 
country from 1845 to 1849 during President Polk's administration — on the 
settlement of our Canadian boundary, the acquisition of Texas and Cali- 
fornia, the war with Mexico, the discovery of gold in California, the first 
constitutional convention, first legislature and request for admission into the 
Union with a full complement of Congressmen and Senators — while meditat- 
ing on these matters, an elegant old lady, dressed in white, came down from 
the house, and addressing us in the easy, reassuring manner so common in 
the South, announced herself as the widow of President James K. Polk, who 
had died, as the inscription on the monument showed, on June 15, 1849. The 
large lot and residence was called "Polk Place." Mrs. Polk was sweef and 
gracious, and asked where our homes were. When told that we were from 
Maine and California, she commented, "How far apart," and remarked that 
this was a great nation, and that she, with the President, had lived at Wash- 
ington through four very important years of our country's history. The 
name and State of California seemed to interest her. We looked rough, like 
tramps (as we were) ; but the sweet old lady made us feel at ease, and pon- 
dered over the thought that we had come long distances and had called at 
"Polk House" to do honor to the name and grave of the ninth President of 
the United States. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 63 



CHAPTER V 

THE MEN WHO MADE OUR FIRST STATE CONSTITUTION 

From the debates that took place in our first State constitutional con- 
vention, as they were written out by its official reporter, J. Ross Browne, we 
are enabled to get a very full description of the men composing that con- 
vention, including their birthplaces, ages, education, callings, political in- 
clinations, and many other facts that tend to show the character of the men 
who assembled at Monterey on Saturday, September 1, 1849, to frame the 
first constitution of California. Brevet Brig.-Gen. B. Riley, of the United 
States Army, acting civil Governor of California, and Brevet Capt. H. W. 
Halleck, acting as Secretary of State, had sent out their notices calling for 
the election of delegates as late as June 3, 1849. Only thirty-seven delegates 
were specified as necessary in the call to the various districts, to wit : San 
Diego 2, Los Angeles 4, Santa Barbara 2, San Luis Obispo 2, Monterey 5, 
San Jose 5, San Francisco 5, Sonoma 4, Sacramento 4, and San Joaquin 4; 
but the number totaled forty-one in the districts as enumerated. The call 
also provided that should any district think itself entitled to a greater num- 
ber of delegates than the number named, it might elect supernumeraries, 
who, on the organization of the convention, would be admitted or not, at the 
pleasure of that body. The districts of Sacramento and San Joaquin, where 
the influx of miners chiefly centered, availed themselves of this privilege, 
so that the convention, when fully organized, contained forty-eight mem- 
bers. The density of the population was so uncertain in the several districts 
that some of the members were elected by many hundreds of votes, while 
others received less than one hundred; in fact, one member claimed to have 
been elected by fifteen votes. 

There was considerable discussion, with temporary officers acting, be- 
fore the correct list of delegates was settled ; but on the afternoon of the 
third day Robert Sample, of Benicia, in the Sonoma district, was elected 
president of the convention, and "William G. Marcy as secretary, and the 
convention settled down to its great task. 

The election of delegates was quite generally held on August 1, 184 ( >. 
and the majority of members assembled on September 1, 1849. The distances 
were so great, the means of intercommunication so slow, that it is a wonder 
it was all accomplished in so brief a time. 

The convention proved to be a remarkable body of men. In age they 
ranged from twenty-five to fifty-three years, the average being about thirty- 
four and one-third. There were two aged twenty-five, J. M. H. Hollings- 
worth. born in Maryland, and J. M. Jones, born in Kentucky, both elected 
from the San Joaquin district; two twenty-six years old, Henry A. Tefft, 
born in New York and elected from San Luis Obispo, and Lewis Dent, born 
in Missouri and elected from Monterey; and three aged twenty-seven; while 
most of the delegates were in their early thirties. The oldest delegate was 
Jose Antonio Carrillo, a native of California, from Angels, who was fifty- 



64 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

three. Most of the native California members were above the average in 
age, except Pablo de la Guerra, from Santa Barbara, who was thirty. 

The president of the convention, Robert Sample, was born in Kentucky, 
though he came locally from Benicia. The whole body of members came 
from fourteen different localities in California. They were born in eighteen 
different States or countries. By nativity, New York furnished twelve, Vir- 
ginia three, Massachusetts two, Kentucky three, Ohio three, Maryland five, 
California six, and Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Florida, Tennessee, 
Pennsylvania, Vermont and New Jersey one each. Of foreign countries, 
France is credited with two, Switzerland with one, Spain with one, Scotland 
with one, and Ireland with one — six in all. As between Northern and 
Southern States, twenty-three came from the North and fourteen from the 
South. 

The period of residence in California before their election varied greatly. 
The native or Spanish-speaking members had lived in the country all their 
lives, while W. M. Gwin, O. M. Nozencraft, Henry A. Tefft and Winfield 
S. Sherwood claimed only a four months' residence. J. M. Jones, the youngest 
member of the convention, was not certain, for he gave his residence as 
"about four months." Some other short-time arrivals gave their periods of 
residence as five, seven, eight and twelve months. Other delegates claimed 
a residence of from three to twenty years. Excluding the native-born, the 
delegates' residence in their districts averaged a very short period indeed. 

As regards their occupations, there were fourteen lawyers, one physician, 
ten farmers, eight merchants and traders, five military men, two printers, 
and one banker. Peter Sansevaine, age thirty-one, of Bordeaux, a resident 
for eleven years, gave his calling as "negotiant." One, a recent inhabitant of 
Texas, a resident of one year, gave his occupation "elegant leisure." The 
oldest member, age fifty-three, was born in San Francisco, came from Angels, 
had resided here "toda la vida" (all his life), and admitted the honest calling 
of "laborer." Many of the members had received classical educations ; and 
several had served in different Eastern legislatures. 

The future Placer and Nevada Counties were located in the Sacramento 
or most northern district. Our delegates from the Sacramento district, while 
perhaps not the most talkative, averaged with the best, and were a very 
substantial body of men. They were : Jacob R. Snyder, age thirty-four, born 
in Philadelphia, of Sacramento City, four years in the district, and a sur- 
veyor ; Winfield S. Sherwood, age thirty-two, born in New York State, from 
Mormon Island, four months in the district, a lawyer ; L. W. Hastings, age 
thirty, from the State of Ohio, post office Sutter, in district six years, a 
lawyer; John A. Sutter, age forty-seven, from Switzerland, last from Mis- 
souri, post office Sutter, ten years in district, a farmer ; John A. McDougal, 
age thirty-nine, born in Ohio, from Indiana, post office Sutter, in district 
seven months, a merchant; E. O. Crosby, age thirty-four, born in New York 
State, came from same, post office Vernon, seven months in district, a law- 
yer; W. M. McCarver, age forty-two, born in Kentucky, came from Oregon, 
post office Sacramento City, one year in district, a farmer ; W. E. Shannon, 
age twenty-seven, born in Ireland, from New York, post office Columa, in 
district three years, a lawyer. Thus, our delegation was composed of four 
lawyers, one merchant, two farmers and one surveyor. 

California, like Louisiana, had laws in force when it came under the 
jurisdiction of the United States. The inherent genius of a well-trained 
American citizen was strongly in favor of law and order, and challenged the 






HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 65 

admiration of the European peoples by the quick and orderly establishment 
of some kind of civil and political government, following closely some ac- 
cepted model of the Atlantic States. Law observance and good order pre- 
vailed to a remarkable degree. Old diaries and letters, written in 1848 and 
1849, attest to that fact; but still, the apparent neglect of Congress, and the 
inrush of thousands of untrained Americans, made many early-day immi- 
grants fearful as to the future good order. If all the immigration had come 
from the East, South and West, there would not have been much to be 
feared ; but South America, Asia and the islands of the Pacific were sending 
thousands who were not familiar with American institutions and the Ameri- 
can form of government. Governor Riley, in his call for delegates to the 
convention, had urged the people to obey the Mexican laws of California 
till the hoped-for Federal laws and our own constitution and State laws 
could be put into operation. 

Before the formation and adoption of our first constitution, many good 
citizens advocated the formation of a Pacific Republic. Any strong form of 
government was thought to be better than practically none. With these 
sentiments being voiced, the reader can understand the vast importance of 
the work to be carried on by the hastily elected delegates. Every true Cali- 
fornian should feel proud of the courage and patriotism shown by these 
forty-eight comparatively young men who assembled in old Monterey to de- 
termine what should be the future form of government on the Pacific Coast 
of America. 

The question which immediately presented itself to the members was, 
Shall we ask the government at Washington for a Territorial form of gov- 
ernment, or boldly form a constitution for full Statehood and ask that it be 
adopted by the people, and elect two Representatives and two Senators, send 
them to Washington, and earnestly demand admission into the Union of 
States? 

Outside of the thirteen original States, the universal custom had been 
for Congress to first organize a homogeneous scope of country into a Ter- 
ritory, with a designated name and seat of government. The Governor 
would be appointed by the Federal authority, and many years of fostering 
care by the central government (thirty-five years in one instance) might be 
extended before the Territory was brought into the Union as a State. Texas 
and Louisiana came in by purchase or treaty. Alaska was bought from 
Russia by Secretary Seward in 1867, and it is still a Territory. The Hawaiian 
Islands, with an organized government, were offered to our government 
twice before they were accepted. Now they are a financial asset to <>ur 
nation, so much so that the central government recently built a United States 
post office and Federal building in Honolulu at a cost of $1,000,000, and aids 
the Territorial University to the extent of $50,000 annually; in return, the 
Territory produces custom dues and Federal taxes of over $1,000,000 
annually. 

Let us survey briefly the economic and political situation in California 
at the time the convention was assembled. 

Gold had been discovered on January 24, 1848. The war with .Mexico 
was ended, and the treaty of peace had been exchanged and ratified at 
Queretaro on May 30, 1848; and yet Congress, in the winter of 1848-1849, 
had passed no legislation looking towards a Territorial government. The 
authorities at Washington had authorized the collection of custom duties as 



66 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

in the East, and had briefly relegated us to Oregon and Louisiana for our 
nearest courts. Our nearest United States land office was located at Oregon 
City, Ore., where the writer saw on file the first official plat and survey of 
San Francisco while attending the exposition at Portland a few years ago. 
The political tension was at a high pitch in the Eastern and Southern States 
over the question of slavery. What was California to be, free or slave? 
Either decision might precipitate the destruction of the Union. And so 
Congress hesitated. 

Notwithstanding the apparent snub by the central government at Wash- 
ington in not immediately giving California fostering care and some kind 
of a safe government, as requested by many citizens and quite unanimously 
by the United States army and navy officers, it was determined not to ask 
for a Territorial government, but to boldly prepare a good, short, conserva- 
tive constitution, and ask for the immediate admission of California into the 
Union with full status as a State. 

From time to time, during the debates, the delegates expressed the appre- 
hension they evidently felt, lest there might be adopted, in framing the con- 
stitution, something that would give offense to sentiments of the Northern or 
Southern politicians, and that might thus keep California out of the Union ; 
and there seemed to be an earnest desire to avoid all the old-time party 
hatreds, and yet in such manner that the leaders in Washington, both North- 
ern and Southern, could have no excuse to reject California when she boldly 
requested the honor of Statehood. Nevertheless, serious friction came on 
September 12, less than two weeks after the convention opened. Mr. Jones, 
from Kentucky, a delegate from San Joaquin, was mildly criticizing the 
actions of a committee of the convention. He was answered by Mr. Tefft, 
whose native State was New York, and who came to the convention from 
San Luis Obispo. The stinging words seemed to spell a duel. It was New 
York against Kentucky ; North against South. The words were : "as to the 
fling made at the committee by the gentleman who last spoke, I consider 
his remarks entirely unwarranted, and unworthy of notice. I would call his 
attention to the following quotation from Junius : 'There are men who never 
aspire to hatred — who never rise above contempt.' " Jones asked that the 
words be taken down and that the convention act on the matter. Instantly 
there was a commotion. Friends of the hot-heads tried to calm the conven- 
tion and secure retractions. Jones claimed the protection of the house from 
the insulting remarks, and Tefft refused to retract or apologize. The chair- 
man used his best efforts to preserve order and keep harmony among the 
members. William M. Gwin, formerly of Tennessee, urged concord. Botts, of 
Virginia, thought the insult was uncalled for. Hastings, from Ohio, thought 
time was being wasted. Noriega asked that the Spanish-speaking delegates 
be excused from voting on the matter, as they did not understand the import 
of the English words, which request was granted. Moore, of Florida, lately 
from Texas, hoped his friend, Jones, would not require any apology "here." 
If there was any misunderstanding, let it be settled "out of doors." He 
(Moore) would not trouble the House, if insulted, by asking any apology 
"here." But older and wiser heads were much concerned. There was talk 
of locking the doors of the House and insisting on mutual apologies. After 
much wrangling and half-hearted retractions and apologies from the offend- 
ing parties, the matter was settled and the business of the House proceeded. 
This matter is mentioned here to emphasize the zeal of the older and cooler 
members of both the North and the South that there should be neither anv 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 67 

expression of offensive sentiments nor any duel or other violent action which 
would weigh against California when the final request was made at Wash- 
ington. As it turned out, the members adopted a most drastic provision 
against duelling, or sending or accepting a challenge to fight a duel, either 
in or out of this Statej even providing that any one who should act as second, 
or assist in any manner those offending, should not hold any office of profit 
under the State, nor enjoy the right of suffrage. It seems one scare was 
enough, and thereafter, to the end of the convention, the utmost good be- 
havior and gentlemanly courtesy prevailed. From that time on, it was 
"the gentleman from Sacramento" or "the gentleman who last addressed 
the House." As regards the general subject at issue, it is interesting to note 
the middle course adopted in the long and earnest debates of the delegates. 
It was universally stipulated that there should be no slavery, and it was 
strongly advocated that no freed slaves should be allowed in the State to 
compete with white labor in the mining sections. Southern as well as North- 
ern delegates stressed the evil results to be apprehended from the competi- 
tion of white laboring men with the colored freedmen and non-Anglo-Saxons 
in general. The idea of a colored citizen never entered their heads. The 
Spanish-speaking delegates warmly argued for the better tribes of Indians, 
and a guarded clause was inserted, providing that the legislature, by a two- 
thirds vote, might admit the Indian or his descendants to the right of 
suffrage. A Southern delegate introduced the 18th section : "Neither slavery. 
nor involuntary servitude, unless for the punishment of crimes, shall ever 
be tolerated in this State." That section, together with the naming of the 
Sierra Nevada range of mountains as our eastern boundary, insured our ad- 
mission into the Union, without a doubt. 

The boundaries of the proposed State occupied many hours and even 
days of earnest debate. The question was ever before the delegates : What 
would Congress do if we took in too much territory? What would Congress 
do if we did not take in all of Alta California, just as the treaty described it, 
including New Mexico, Arizona and the Salt Lake country with its 30,000 
Mormons? At least half a dozen boundaries were proposed and advocated; 
and it was near the close of the convention when, on motion of one of the 
youngest members, Mr. Jones, the present boundary of our State was adopted, 
the smallest limits proposed by any member, by which the boundaries are 
thus defined : Bounded on the north by the 42nd degree of north latitude, 
eastern line 120th degree of longitude south to where it intersects the 39th 
degree of north latitude (which happens to be near the south end of Lake 
Tahoe) ; thence in a straight line southeasterly to the Colorado River, where 
it intersects the 35th degree of north latitude; and thence down the said river 
to the Mexican line, etc., up to the Oregon line. The last resolution on the 
boundary matter was the best of all. It took in the cream of the whole terri- 
tory under debate, and without doubt aided in our admission as a State. 
Congress always has exercised her supreme powers as to the size of States, 
population and so forth. Congress reserved the right to cut Texas into four 
States, and might have stipulated for the subdivision of California, not to our 
liking, if she had asked for an unreasonable scope of territory. 

In a careful reading of the debates, one catches an echo of the financial 
panics the people had passed through in the East after Congress refused the 
Bank of the United States a renewal of its charter. The l>ank was similar 
in functions to the Bank of England, and was a favorite of the old Federal 
and Whig parties, who claimed it was a stabilizer of American money. It 



68 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

was a very conservative bank, located in Philadelphia. President Jackson 
hated the bank heartily, and sought its destruction. It was denied a renewal 
of its charter in 1832, and in 1836 it ceased to operate. A wild system of 
irresponsible country banks sprang up in the West. Most any cross-roads 
village could have a bank, and bank failures were frequent and calamitous. 
Money panics followed one another rapidly. State bank money and notes 
were held in distrust. Every merchant and prominent business man kept 
himself supplied with monthly "indexes," "detectors," and "reports" of his 
own and outside State banks, with the latest inside information as to their 
solvency ; and it continued so until the United States greenback currency 
came into use. 

The writer's father once gave him $300 of so-called "wildcat" State bank 
notes. A five-dollar promise to pay in 1853 lies before the writer now. It 
reads: "No. 626 — A. Bank of The Ohio Savings Institute has deposited Five 
Dollars payable to bearer on demand. Tiffin. Nov. 14, 1853." It has fine 
signatures of President and Secretary, and on the back it seems to have 
been endorsed. The vignette and scroll work are imposing. The upper part 
showed six industrious farmers and laborers. In the lower left corner ap- 
pears a plowman whose horses fairly prance along. In the opposite lower 
corner was the friend of the State banks, President Jackson, with encircling 
words, "Incorporated 1850. Stockholders individually liable," as the reading 
glass discloses. The West was flooded with such paper, which may have 
been worthless within six months after it was issued. No wonder the mem- 
bers of the convention then recently from the East argued earnestly against 
irredeemable bank notes. It seemed as if most every speaker had been 
"bitten" by some "wildcat" bank notes ; nothing but gold and silver for them. 

To show how earnest the delegates were to protect the people from the 
evils many had suffered, we quote from Section 34, Article IV, Legislative 
Department, in which was incorporated the following: 

"The legislature shall have no power to pass any act granting any char- 
ter for banking purposes, but associations may be formed, under general 
laws, for the deposit of gold and silver; but no such associations shall make, 
issue, or put into circulation, any bill, check, ticket, certificate, promissory 
note, or other paper, or the paper of any bank, to circulate as money." 

Section 35 followed : 

"The legislature of this State shall prohibit, by law, any person or 
persons, associations, company, or corporation, from exercising the privi- 
leges of banking, or creating paper to circulate as money." 

Section 36, of the same article, gave additional protection to the people, 
which is worth remembering: 

"Each stockholder of a corporation, or joint association, shall be indi- 
vidually and personally liable for his proportion of all its debts and lia- 
bilities." 

It has been said in later years that some of the above clauses were too 
stringent, and especially the California legislative act stipulating that gold 
and silver should be the legal money. Even the safe federal currency, com- 
monly called greenbacks, issued by our government early in the sixties, was 
not favored. Even as late as 1877, an Eastern man had to suffer a discount 
of twelve per cent in changing his national currency into the gold of 
California. 

A whole book could be written about the making of our first constitu- 
tion. The term "State" constitution is not exactly correct. We were not a 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 69 

"State," and there were serious doubts whether we would be recognized or 
allowed to come into the Union as one. Only a few interesting facts can be 
mentioned within the space available for this chapter. 

Among the most interesting incidents were the discussions relating to 
the Great Seal of the State. At the evening session of September 29, the 
report of the committee on the Great Seal was presented with an "Explana- 
tion,"' as follows : 

"Around the bend of the ring are represented thirty-one stars, being 
the number of the States of which the Union will consist upon the admis- 
sion of California. The foreground figure represents the Goddess Minerva, 
having sprung full-grown from the brain of Jupiter. She is introduced as 
a type of the political birth of the State of California, without having gone 
through the probation of a Territory. At her feet crouches a grizzly bear 
feeding upon the clusters from a grapevine, emblematic of the peculiar 
characteristics of the country. A miner is engaged with his rocker and 
bowl at his side, illustrating the golden wealth of the Sacramento, upon 
whose waters are seen shipping, typical of commercial greatness, and the 
snowclad peaks of the Sierra Nevada make up the background, while above 
is the Greek motto, 'Eureka' (I have found), applying either to the principle 
involved in the admission of the State, or the success of the miner at work. 

"Caleb Lvons, of Lvonsdale. 

"Monterey, Sept. 26, 1849." 

Several amendments were suggested, and then the whole matter was la : d 
on the table. 

At a later date Mr. Price, of San Francisco, introduced a resolution "that 
the design for a seal for the State of California, reported by the committee, be 
accepted, and that the explanation be entered upon the journal of the House." 

Mr. Nozencraft, from Ohio, wanted it amended by striking out the fig- 
ures of the gold-digger and the bear, and introduced instead bags of gold 
and bales of merchandise. 

General Yallejo, of Sonoma, offered an amendment that the bear be 
taken out of the design for the seal, or if it do remain, that it be represented 
as made fast to a lasso in the hands of a vaquero. This resolution, for safety, 
brought a recess until 3 p. m. On reassembling, the seal with the "Coat of 
Arms," was adopted, on motion of Mr. Price, and Caleb Lyons was directed 
to have it engraved in the shortest time possible and delivered to the secre- 
tary of the convention. For the design and seal, press and all necessary ap- 
pendages, there was promised to Mr. Lyons the sum of $1000. On October 
11, near the close of the convention, the matter of the seal came up again, 
this time with reference to the cost. Mr. McDougal. from the Sacramento 
district, announced that the sum named covered all costs, and if thought too 
much, Sacramento district would pay the $1000 itself. The words. "The Great 
Seal of the State of California," were added to the design. It appeared 
farther in debate that a Major Garnett, a United States Army officer, then 
at Monterey, had made the original design for the seal, but had allowed Mr. 
Lyons, an employee of the convention, to make certain additions to the de- 
sign and then offer it to the convention for adoption. 

The next we hear about the Great Seal of the State of California may be 
of interest. Some doubt whether California has a Great Seal, legally adopted, 
though we have one in use with nearly the same heraldic designs as the 
original one adopted by the constitutional convention at .Monterey. The 
Great Seal, as described in the Blue Book of 1907, shows thirty-two stars. 



70 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

The original had thirty-one, signifying that California was to be the thirty- 
first State. On page 700 of the Blue Book of 1907, we read : 

"In 1858 the Great Seal was damaged so that it failed to give a true 
impression, and a bill was introduced in the Senate by Mr. Thorn to author- 
ize the Secretary of State to procure a new seal, to be engraved on steel, 
and to be substituted for and used instead of the seal then in existence, and 
requiring him to destroy the then State seal in the presence of the Governor 
and Controller. The bill was accompanied with a design which reduced the 
size of the seal a twelfth part of an inch, and to admit of this contraction 
some of the details of the original design were omitted. The bear was 
made to crouch submissively at the feet of Minerva, the miner's cradle was 
left out, and the miner was brought nearer the water. 

"On March 10, 1858, the Senate amended the bill by providing that the 
design and size should be the same as in the then seal ; and on April 16 
another amendment was adopted that 'the design of the present seal shall 
be preserved intact in the new one, but the size thereof shall be reduced six 
tenths of an inch, so that the new seal, when completed, shall be three and 
three tenths of an inch in diameter.' The bill, with this amendment, passed 
the Senate on the 31st, but it was not considered in the House." 

The final paragraph recited shows that no bill was passed to adopt a 
substituted seal for the original, damaged one. The date of the passage of 
this bill in the Senate, April 31st, was an impossible date; furthermore, the 
bill was not passed by the Assembly. But in the same article describing the 
seal, in a prior paragraph, it is recited that in October, 1855, a complication 
arose between Governor Bigler and the then Secretary of State, James W. 
Denver, as to which one should retain possession of the Great Seal. It is 
stated that the secretary kept possession of the seal, but that the Governor 
caused a duplicate seal to be made and used. There was much friction and 
trouble, but the paragraph closes with this statement : "However this may 
be, there are two dies of the State seal in the possession of the Secretary of 
State at this time." 

After reading both paragraphs above mentioned, the writer does not 
hazard even a guess whether California has an official Great Seal or not ; but 
he would respectfully suggest that a wise and discreet legislature settle the 
matter at an early date. 

This remarkable convention ended its labors on October 13, 1849, after 
forty days, actual time, including Sundays. A n address to the people was 
prepared at the end. Captain Sutter was appointed to extend the thanks of 
the convention to General Riley, acting Governor. 

The State constitution produced was a modern and (for 1849) up-to-date 
document. The county systems of Virginia, New York and Iowa were 
adopted, rather than the New England town system. The Declaration of 
Rights contained twenty-one sections, which were all short and clear as to 
the rights of the citizen, from Magna Charta down. The members of the 
convention quoted from many of the State constitutions, and seemed to be 
especially pleased with- the provisions of the State of New York and the 
recently adopted constitution of Iowa ; but a careful reading will show that 
when the rights of the citizen were concerned, the language of the Constitu- 
tion of the United States was closely followed. 

The articles on the distribution of powers, including the legislative, exec- 
utive, and judicial departments, followed the most approved, up-to-date 
American classification. The matter of education was wisely considered, and 
liberal provisions for its furtherance were adopted. State debt was vigor- 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 71 

ously guarded against. There were twenty-one miscellaneous provisions, all 
wise, human, and up-to-date for 1849. Provisions were carefully made as to 
marriage, property of the wife, community property, and exemption from 
forced sale of certain property needed for the family. Then there was a 
schedule of sixteen sections, all well-considered, reserving certain rights to 
the people and providing for the first legislature, and so forth. 

It was as perfect a constitution as an earnest, educated body of young 
men, fresh from the people, and all the time under the most solemn sense of 
duty to their future State, their country, and the whole of the Pacific Coast, 
could frame. Without doubt, feelings similar to those that animated the 
hearts of the signers of the Declaration of Independence wrought strongly 
in the hearts and consciences of these earnest patriots at Monterey, as they 
sought to mold the last strip of American territory on the Pacific Coast at 
that time into a State that the Federal Congress would accept as worthy 
to be numbered with the original thirteen. 

The election by the people to ratify the new constitution was set for the 
13th day of November following, and on that date also the people were to elect 
Senators and Assemblymen to the first legislature, and two Representatives 
to the National Congress. George W. Wright and Edward Gilbert were 
chosen as Representatives. 

The first legislature met at San Jose on December 15, 1849; and on De- 
cember 20, 1849, the State government was fully established. Peter H. 
Burnett was inaugurated as the first Governor of the State of California : and 
soon afterwards William M. Gwin, who had helped make the constitution, 
and John C. Fremont, the "Pathfinder," were elected by the legislature as the 
first United States Senators. 

These things were done by authority of the State of California although 
she was not admitted into the Union for eight months and nineteen days 

On February 9, 1850, the legislature, with great assurance, passed a 
resolution that the Governor authorize the procuring of a proper block of 
California marble or other rock, to be forwarded to Washington, D. C, to be 
placed in the Washington Monument, with the word "California" chiseled on 
the same. The writer once rode in an elevator to the top landing of that 555- 
foot monument ; and so anxious was he to see the "California" block of marble 
that he laboriously walked down eight hundred ninety-eight steps, viewing 
the block on the way. At that time he did not recall the fact that California 
was not an admitted State when she cooly forwarded the block for insertion 
in the monument. The words on the California stone are: "Youngest 
Sister of the Union Brings Her Golden Tribute to the Memory of Its Father." 

All Californians yearned to be in the Union. Their zeal on that subject 
became a consuming passion. On no other assumption can we account for 
some of the acts, facts and requests connected with the constitution and the 
first legislature. No wonder Admission Day is so joyously celebrated in 
California. 

Hon. John F. Davis, of San Francisco, has written a little book of eighty 
pages, entitled "California Romantic and Resourceful," which shows the 
earnest, patriotic zeal of the early-day pioneer to have his State admitted into 
the Union. Outside of the perusal of the debates between the members of 
the convention, which has been very helpful, this book has furnished the 
writer with much pleasure and valuable information. 

As a last effort that California should be admitted to the Union, the 
constitution provided that a "memorial" and address should be prepared by 



72 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

our first Senators and Representatives. This document, consisting of ten 
pages of fine print, and dated Washington, D. C, March 12, 1850, gives an 
exhaustive recital of early California history and the various reasons support- 
ing the request for admission as a State. The first few lines of that wonderful 
document are as follows : 

"Memorial 

"To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled : 

"The undersigned, Senators and Representatives elect from the State 
of California, have the honor, in pursuance of a requirement of the Consti- 
tution recently adopted by her people for her government as a State, to 
lay before your honorable bodies certified copies of said Constitution, to- 
gether with their credentials, and to request, in the name of the people of 
California, the admission of the State of California into the American Union." 

Some of the main reasons why California was not sooner admitted as a 
State may be gathered from a speech -made at Forest Hill, Placer County, on 
August 19, 1859, by E. D. Baker, later known as Col. E. D. Baker. A few 
lines of that speech are here quoted : 

"In 1850 the Congress of the United States passed what is called a 
series of compromise measures. Among them was a fugitive slave law, the 
indemnity to Texas, the creation of territories in Utah and New Mexico, 
the admission of California, and the change in the Texas boundary. Four 
of them had direct relation to the question of slavery, and one was the ad- 
mission of this state. 

"Being in Congress, as a member of the House at that time, I know 
well what you remember. The admission of California as a state was de- 
layed for some nine or ten months, because the leaders of the Pro-Slavery 
Party were determined to secure their own way on all the other measures 
before California should be admitted." 



CHAPTER VI 

JAMES W. MARSHALL, AND THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD 

On January 24, 1848, it may be truly said, there was but one gold mine 
or collection of small mines in the State of California. There were some gold 
placers on San Francisquito Creek, about forty-five miles northwest of Los 
Angeles. Gold was discovered there in 1838, and for ten years the mines pro- 
duced only about $6,000 per year ; then they were abandoned for the richer 
mines in the northern part of the State. Many able writers and geologists 
thought the indications for gold were good, that gold might be discovered 
at any time ; but the real discoverer of gold in paying quantities was James 
W. Marshall. 

The story of the discovery of gold as given by James W. Marshall him- 
self is the best of all authority on the matter, and I quote from a letter of his, 
dated January 28, 1856. 

"Towards the end of August, 1847, Captain Sutter and I formed a co- 
partnership to build and run a saw-mill upon a site selected by myself (since 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 73 

known as Coloma). We employed P. L. Weimer and family to remove from 
the fort (Sutter's Fort) to the mill-site to cook and labor for us. Nearly 
the first work done was the building of a double log cabin, about half a mile 
from the mill-site. AYe commenced the mill about Christmas. Some of 
the mill hands wanted a cabin near the mill. This was built, and I went to 
the fort to superintend the construction of the mill irons, leaving orders to 
cut a narrow ditch where the race was to be made. 

"Upon my return, in January, 1848, I found the ditch cut as directed, 
and those who were working on the same were doing so at a great disad- 
vantage, expending their labor upon the head of the race instead of the foot. 

"I immediately changed the course of things, and upon the 19th of the 
same month, January, discovered the gold near the lower end of the race, 
about two hundred yards below the mill. William Scott was the second 
man to see the metal. He was at work at a carpenter's bench near the mill. 
I showed the gold to him. Alexander Stephens, James Brown, Henry Bigler, 
and William Johnston were likewise working in front of the mill, framing 
the upper story. They were called up next, and of course saw the precious 
metal. P. L. Weimer and Charles Bennett were at the old log cabin (where 
Hastings & Co. afterwards kept a store) and, in my opinion, at least half 
a mile distant. In the meantime we put in some wheat and peas, nearly 
five acres, across the river. 

"In February, the Captain (Captain Sutter) came to the mountains for 
the first time. There we consummated a treaty with the Indians, which had 
been previously negotiated. The tenor of this was that we were to pay 
them two hundred dollars yearly at Yerba Buena prices, for the joint pos- 
session and occupation of the land with them ; they agreeing not to kill our 
stock, viz : our horses, cattle, hogs or sheep, nor burn the grass within the 
limits fixed by the treaty. At the same time Captain Sutter, myself, and 
Isaac Humphrey entered into a copartnership to dig gold. 

"A short time afterwards P. L. AVeimer moved away from the mill, 
and was away two or three months, when he returned. With all the events 
that subsequently occurred, you and the public are well informed." 

The following additional particulars of the discovery appeared in the 
Coloma Argus in the latter part of the year 1855, and were evidently derived 
from Weimer himself. 

"That James W. Marshall picked up the first piece of gold, is beyond 
doubt. Peter L. Weimer, who resides in this place, states positively that 
Air. Marshall picked up the gold in his presence. They both saw it, and 
each spoke at the same time, 'What's that yellow stuff?' Marshall, being a 
step in advance, picked it up. This first piece of gold is now in the pos- 
session of Mrs. AVeimer, and weighs six pennyweights, eleven grains. The 
piece was given to her by Marshall himself. 

"The dam was finished early in January, the forms of the mill also 
erected, and the flumes and bulkhead completed. It was at this time that 
Marshall and AVeimer adopted the plan of raising the gate during the night 
to wash out sand from the mill-race, closing it during the day, when work 
would be continued with shovels, etc. 

"Early in February — the exact date is not remembered — in the morning, 
after shutting off the water, Marshall and AVeimer walked down the race 
together to see what the water had accomplished during the night. Having 
gone about twenty yards below the mill, they both saw the piece of gold 
mentioned, and Marshall picked it up. After an examination, the gold was 
taken to the cabin of AVeimer, and Mrs. Weimer instructed to boil it in 
saleratus water; but she being engaged in making soap, pitched the piece in 
the soap kettle, where it was boiled all day and all night. The following 



74 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

morning the strange piece of stuff was fished out of the soap, all the brighter 
for the boiling it had received. 

"Discussion now commenced, and all expressed the opinion that perhaps 
the yellow substance might be gold. Little was said on the subject, but 
everyone each morning searched the race for more, and every day found 
several small scales. The Indians also picked up many small thin pieces, and 
carried them always to Mrs. Weimer. 

"About three weeks after the first piece was obtained, Marshall took the 
fine gold, amounting to between two and three ounces, and went below to 
have the strange metal tested. On his return he informed Weimer that the 
stuff was gold. All hands now began to search for the 'root of all evil.' 
Shortly after. Captain Sutter came to Coloma, when he and Marshall assem- 
bled the Indians, and bought of them a large tract of country about Coloma 
in exchange for a lot of beads and a few cotton handkerchiefs. They, under 
this Indian title, required one-third of all the gold dug on their domain, 
and collected at this rate until the fall of 1848, when a mining party from 
Oregon declined paying 'tithes,' as they called it. 

"During February, 1848, Marshall and Weimer went down the river 
to Mormon Island, and there found scales of gold on the rocks. Some weeks 
later they sent a Mr. Henderson, Sydney Willis, and Mr. Fifields, Mormons, 
down there to dig, telling them that place was better than Coloma. These 
were the first miners at Mormon Island." 

Mr. John S. Hittel, in a little work entitled "Mining in the Pacific States," 
published by H. H. Bancroft & Company in 1861, says, in discussing 
Marshall's discovery : 

"Marshall was a man of an active, enthusiastic mind, and he at once 
attached great importance to his discovery. His ideas, however, were 
vague ; he knew nothing about gold mining ; he did not know how to take 
advantage of what he had found. Only an experienced gold miner could 
understand the importance of the discovery, and make it of practical 
value to all the world. That gold miner, fortunately, was near at hand ; 
his name was Isaac Humphrey. He was residing in the town of San 
Francisco, in the month of February, when a Mr, Bennett, one of the party 
employed at Marshall's Mill, went down to that place with some of the 
dust to have it tested ; for it was still a matter of doubt whether this yellow 
metal really was gold. Bennett told his errand to a friend whom he met 
in San Francisco, and this friend introduced him to Humphrey, who had 
been a gold miner in Georgia, and was therefore competent to pass an 
opinion upon the stuff. Humphrey looked at the dust, pronounced it gold 
at the first glance, and expressed a belief that the diggings must be rich. 
He made inquiries about the place where the gold was found, and subse- 
quent inquiries about the trustworthiness of Mr. Bennett; and on the 7th 
day of March he was at the mill. He tried to induce several of his friends 
in San Francisco to go with him ; they all thought his expedition a foolish 
one, and he had to go alone. He found that there was some talk about the 
gold, and persons would occasionally go about looking for pieces of it ; 
but no one was engaged in mining, and the work of the mill was going 
on as usual. On the 8th he went out prospecting with a pan, and satis- 
fied himself that the country in that vicinity was rich in gold. He then 
made a rocker and commenced the business of washing gold ; and thus 
began the business of mining in California. Others saw how he did it, 
followed his example, found that the work was profitable, and abandoned 
all other occupations. 

"The news of their success spread ; people flocked to the place, learned 
how to use the rocker, discovered new diggings, and in the course of a few 
months the country had been overturned by a social and industrial revolution. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 75 

"Mr. Humphrey had not been at work more than three or four days 
before a Frenchman, called Baptiste, who had been a gold miner in Mexico 
for many years, came to the mill, and he agreed with Humphrey that Cali- 
fornia was very rich in gold. 

"He, too, went to work ; and being an excellent prospector, he was of 
great service in teaching the new-comers the principles of prospecting and 
mining for gold, principles not abstruse, yet not likely to suggest themselves, 
at first thought, to men entirely ignorant of the business. Baptiste had been 
employed by Captain Sutter to saw timber with a whip-saw, and had been at 
work for two years at a place, since called Weber, about ten miles eastward 
from Coloma. When he saw the diggings at the latter place, he at once said 
there were very rich mines where he had been sawing, and he expressed sur- 
prise that it had never occurred to him before, so experienced in gold mining 
as he was ; but afterwards he said it had been so ordered by Providence, that 
the gold might not be discovered until California should be in the hands of 
the Americans." 

Wonderment is- often expressed that the news of the discovery of gold 
did not spread more quickly, and that it did not sooner create a more general 
interest. Only two papers printed in the English language and of general 
circulation, were at that time issued in San Francisco — the Californian and 
the Star. Either the newsgatherers did not believe the rumors or were indif- 
ferent as to the importance of the fact of the discovery. It was fifty days be- 
fore the Californian commented on the news, and then only eight lines were 
devoted to it. Dr. R. F. Rooney, of Auburn, is the owner of a copy of the 
Californian, dated March 15, 1848, and has permitted the writer to copy the 
news item, "Gold Mine Found," which we quote as follows : 

"In the newly-made race-way of the saw-mill recently erected by Captain 
Sutter on the American Fork, gold has been found in considerable quantities. 
One person brought thirty dollars' worth to New Helvetia, gathered there in 
a short time. California, no doubt, is rich in mineral wealth ; great chances 
here for scientific capitalists. Gold has been found in almost every part of 
the country." 

The Star, a few days afterwards, makes a less exciting comment about 
silver and gold being discovered, and about copper being said to exist north 
of these bays. Months after Marshall's discovery, the newspapers give the 
most casual notices about the matter. The news was first carried to Hawaii 
(then called the Sandwich Islands) by trading vessels, and thence to Oregon 
and all the Pacific Coast. 

John Bidwell went over to Coloma, examined the river, mines and gen- 
eral surroundings, and decided to try mining on some of his property simil- 
arly situated ; and Bidwell's Bar, as the writer saw it a few years ago, shows 
that his surmise was correct and that he, with his Indians, must have washed 
and dug long and deep for the hidden gold. 

Any account of the discovery of gold would not be complete which 
did not include General Sutter's forceful comments on the matter. It meant 
much to him : in fact, the discovery of gold worked his ruin. What made 
fortunes for others, started him on the road to poverty. He prepared a 
signed statement for the Hutchins' California Magazine for November, 1857. 
This I take from Thompson and West's History of Placer County, beginning 
on page 56. 

"It was the first of January, 1848, when the gold was discovered at 
Coloma, where I was building a saw-mill. The contractor and builder ot 
this mill was James W. Marshall, from New Jersey. In the fall of 1847, 
after the mill-site had been located, I sent up to this place Mr. P. L. Weimer, 



76 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

with his family, and a number of laborers from the disbanded Mormon 
Battalion, and a little later I engaged Mr. Bennett, from Oregon, to assist 
Mr. Marshall in the mechanical labors of the mill. Mr. Weimer had the 
team in charge, assisted by his young sons, to do the teaming, and Mrs. 
Weimer did the cooking for all hands. 

"I was very much in need of a saw-mill to get lumber to finish my 
flouring mill, of four run of stones, at Brighton, and was rapidly progressing, 
likewise for other buildings, fences, etc., for the small village of Yerba Buena, 
now San Francisco. In the City Hotel (the only one) this enterprise was 
unkindly called another folly of Sutter's, as my first settlement at the old fort, 
near Sacramento City, was called by a good many — a folly of his ; and they 
were about right in that, because I had the best chances to get some of the 
finest locations near the settlements ; and even well stocked ranches had been 
offered me on the most reasonable conditions. But I refused all these good 
offices, and preferred to explore the wilderness and select a territory on the 
banks of the Sacramento. 

"It was a rainy afternoon when Mr. Marshall arrived at my office in the 
fort, very wet. I was somewhat surprised to see him, as he was down a few 
days previous, when I sent up to Coloma a number of teams with provisions, 
mill-irons, etc. He told me that he had some important and interesting news 
— wished to communicate secretly to me, and wished me to go with him to 
a place where we should not be disturbed, and where no listeners could come 
and hear what we had to say. I went with him to my private rooms ; he 
requested me to lock the door ; I complied, but told him at the same time 
that nobody was in the house except the clerk, who was in his office in a 
different part of the house. 

"After requesting of me something which he wanted, which my servants 
brought and then left the room, I forgot to lock the door, and it happened 
that the door was opened by the clerk just at the moment when Marshall 
took a rag from his pocket, showing me the yellow metal. He had about two 
ounces of it ; but how quick Mr. Marshall' put the yellow metal in his pocket 
again, can hardly be described. The clerk came to see me on business, and 
excused himself for interrupting me ; and as soon as he had left, I was told 
now, 'Lock the door. Didn't I tell you that we might have listeners?' I told 
him he need fear nothing about that, as it was not the habit of this gentle- 
man, but I could hardly convince him that he need not be suspicious. 

"Then Mr. Marshall began to show me this metal, which consisted of 
small pieces and specimens, some of them worth a few dollars. He told me 
that he had expressed his opinion to the laborers at the mill that this might 
be gold ; but some of them laughed at him and called him a crazy man, and 
could not believe such a thing. 

"After having proved the metal with aqua fortis, which I found in my 
apothecary shop, likewise with other experiments, and read the very long 
article 'Gold' in the Encyclopedia Americana, I declared this to be gold of 
the finest quality, of at least twenty-three carats. After this Mr. Marshall 
had no rest or patience, and wanted me to start with him immediately for 
Coloma ; but I told him I would not leave, as it was late in the evening and 
nearly supper-time, and that it would be better for him to remain with me till 
the next morning, and I would then travel with him. But this would not do ; 
he asked me only, 'Will you come tomorrow?' I told him yes, and off he 
started for Coloma, in the heaviest rain, although already wet, taking nothing 
to eat. I took this news very easy, like all other occurrences, good or bad, 
but thought a great deal during the night about the consequences which might 
follow such a discovery. I gave all the necessary orders to my numerous 
laborers, and left the next morning at seven o'clock, accompanied by an Indian 
soldier and a vaquero, in a heavy rain, for Coloma. About half-way on the 
road, I saw at a distance a human being crawling out from the brushwood, 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 77 

and I asked the Indian who it was. He told me, 'The same man who was with 
you last evening.' When I came nearer I found it was Marshall, very wet. 
I told him he would have done better to remain with me at the fort than to 
pass such .an ugly night here ; but he told me that he went to Coloma, fifty- 
four miles, took his other horse and came half-way to meet me. Then we rode 
up to the new El Dorado. 

"In the afternoon, the weather was clearing up, and we made a pros- 
pecting promenade. The next morning we went to the tail-race of the mill, 
through which the water was running during the night, to clear out the 
gravel which had been made loose for the purpose of widening the race ; and 
after the water was out of the race, we went in to search for gold. This was 
done every morning. Small pieces of gold could be seen remaining on the 
surface of the clean-washed bed-rock. I went into the race and picked up 
several pieces of this gold ; several of the laborers gave me some which they 
had picked up, and from Marshall I received a part. I told them I would get 
a ring made of this as soon as it could be done in California, and I have had 
a heavy ring made, with my family's coat-of-arms engraved on the outside, 
and on the inside of the ring is engraved : 'The first gold discovered in Janu- 
ary, 1848.' Now, if Mrs. Weimer possesses a piece which had been found 
earlier than mine, Mr. Marshall can tell, as it was probably received from him. 
I think Mr. Marshall could have hardly known himself which was exactly the 
first little piece, among the whole. 

"The next day I went with Mr. Marshall on a prospecting tour in the 
vicinity of Coloma, and the following morning I left for Sacramento. Before 
my departure, I had a conversation with all hands ; I told them I would con- 
sider it a great favor if they would keep this discovery secret only for six 
weeks, so that I could finish my large flourmill at Brighton, which had cost 
me already about twenty-four or twenty-five thousand dollars. The people 
up there promised to keep it secret so long. On my way home, instead of 
feeling happy and contented, I was very unhappy, and could not see that it 
would benefit me much ; and I was perfectly right in thinking so, as it came 
just precisely as I expected. I thought at the same time that it could hardly 
be kept secret for six weeks ; and in that I was not mistaken, for, about two 
weeks later, after my return, I sent up several teams, in charge of a white 
man, as the teamsters were Indian boys. This man was acquainted with 
all hands up there, and Mrs. Weimer told him the whole secret ; likewise 
the young sons of Mrs. Weimer told him that they had gold, and that they 
would let him have some, too ; and so he obtained a few dollars' worth of it, 
as a present. As soon as this man arrived at the fort, he went to a small store 
in one of my outside buildings, kept by a Mr. Smith, a partner of Samuel 
Brannan, and asked for a bottle of brandy, for which he would pay the cash. 
After having the bottle he paid with these small pieces of gold. Smith was 
astonished, and asked if he meant to insult him. The teamster told him to 
go and ask me about it. Smith came in, in great haste to see me, and I told 
him at once the truth — what could I do? I had to tell him all about it. He 
reported it to Mr. S. Brannan, who came up immediately to get all possible 
information, when he returned and sent up large supplies of goods, leased a 
larger house from me, and commenced a very large and profitable business. 
Soon he opened a branch house at Mormon Island. So soon as the secret was 
known, my laborers began to leave me, in small parties at first; then all left. 
from the clerk to the cook, and I was in great distress. Only a few mechanics 
remained to finish some necessary work which they had commenced, and 
about eight invalids, who continued slowly to work a few teams, to scrape 
out the mill-race at Brighton. The Mormons did not like to leave my mill 
unfinished; but they got the gold-fever, like everybody else. After they had 
made their piles they left for the Great Salt Lake. So long as these people 



78 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

have been employed by me, they have behaved very well and were industrious 
and faithful laborers ; and when settling their accounts, there was not one of 
them who was not contented and satisfied. 

"Then the people commenced rushing up from San Francisco and other 
parts of California, in May, 1848. 

"In the former village (San Francisco) only five men were left to take 
care of the women and children. The single men locked their doors and left 
for 'Sutter's Fort,' and from thence to the El Dorado. For some time the 
people in Monterey and further south would not believe the news of the gold 
discovery, and said it was only a 'ruse de guerre' of Sutter's, because he 
wanted to have neighbors in his wilderness. From this time on I got only too 
many neighbors, and some very bad ones among them. 

"What a great misfortune was this sudden gold discovery to me ! It has 
just broken up and ruined my hard, industrious, and restless labors, connected 
with many dangers of life, as I had many narrow escapes before I became 
properly established. From my mill buildings I reaped no benefit whatever ; 
the mill-stones, even, have been stolen from me. My tannery, which was 
then in a flourishing condition, and was carried on very profitably, was 
deserted ; a large quantity of leather was left unfinished in the vats, and a 
great quantity of raw hides became valueless, as they could not be sold. 
Nobody wanted to be bothered with such trash, as it was called. So it was in 
all other mechanical trades which I had carried on ; all was abandoned, and 
work commenced, or nearly finished, was left, at an immense loss to me. 
Even the Indians had no more patience to work alone, in harvesting and 
threshing my large wheat crop, as the whites had all left, and other Indians 
had been engaged by some white men to work for them, and they com- 
menced to have some gold, for which they were buying all kinds of articles 
at enormous prices in the stores, which, when my Indians saw this, they 
wished very much to go to the mountains and dig gold. 

"At last I consented, got a number of wagons ready, loaded them with 
provisions and goods of all kinds, employed a clerk, and left with about one 
hundred Indians and about fifty Sandwich Islanders, which had joined those 
which I brought with me from the Islands. The first camp was about ten 
miles from Mormon Island, on the South Fork of the American River. In 
a few weeks we became crowded, and it no more paid, as my people made too 
many acquaintances. I broke up the camp and started on the march further 
south, and located my next camp on Sutter Creek, now in Amador County, 
and thought that I should be there alone. The work was going on well for 
a while, until three or four traveling grog-shops surrounded me, at from 
one-half to ten miles distance from the camp. 

"Then, of course, the gold was taken to these places for drinking, gamb- 
ling, etc., and then the following day they were sick and unable to work, and 
became deeper and more indebted to me, particularly the Kanakas. 

"I found it was high time to quit this kind of business, and lose no more 
time and money. I therefore broke up the camp and returned to the fort, 
where I disbanded nearly all the people who had worked for me in the moun- 
tains digging gold. This whole expedition proved to be a heavy loss to me. 

"At the same time I was engaged in a mercantile firm at Coloma, which 
I left in January, 1849, likewise with many sacrifices. After this, I would 
have nothing more to do with the gold affairs. At this time the fort was the 
great trading-place, where nearly all the business was transacted. I had no 
pleasure to remain there, and moved up to Hock farm, with all my Indians, 
who had been with me from the time they were children. The place was 
then in charge of a major-domo. 

"It was very singular that the Indians never found a piece of gold and 
brought it to me, as they very often did other specimens found in the moun- 
tains. I requested them continually to bring me some curiosities from the 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 79 

mountains, for which I always recompensed them. I have received animals, 
birds, plants, young trees, wild fruits, pipe-clay, red ochre, etc., but never a 
piece of gold. Mr. Dana, of the Wilkes Exploring Expedition, told me that 
he had thestrongest proof and signs of gold in the vicinity of Shasta moun- 
tains, and further south. 

"A short time afterwards Dr. Sandels, a very scientific traveler, explored 
a part of the country in a great hurry, as time would not permit him to make 
a longer stay. He told me likewise that he found some signs of gold, and was 
very sorry that he could not explore the Sierra Nevada. He did not encourage 
me to attempt to work and open mines, as it was very uncertain how it would 
pay, and would probably be only profitable for a Government. So I thought 
it more prudent to stick to the plow, notwithstanding I did know the country 
w'as rich in gold and other minerals. 

"An old, attached Mexican servant, who had followed me from the 
United States as soon as he knew that I was here, and who understood a 
great deal about working in placers, told me he found sure signs of gold in 
the mountains on Bear Creek, and that we would go right to work after re- 
turning from our campaign in 1845 ; but he became a victim to his patriotism, 
and fell into the hands of the enemy near my encampment, with dispatches 
for me from General Micheltorena, and he was hung as a spy, for which I was 
very sorry. 

"J. A. Sutter." 

Comment was made, above, on how slowly the news of the discovery 
of gold reached the press and the people in general. Officialdom was equally 
slow in waking up to the important news. ' Lieut. Edward F. Beale, of the 
United States Navy, who aided greatly under Commodore Stockton in the 
conquest of California, was sent by Colonel Mason, then military Governor, 
as a special messenger, by the shortest and most expeditious route, to the 
seat of government at Washington, informing the chief' officers of the discov- 
ery of gold. Lieutenant Beale reached Washington early in June, 1848. It 
is said that President Polk was playing a game of chess with Secretary Ban- 
croft when the long-traveled bearer of the important news was ushered into 
the Presidential presence. The important news was hardly believed. He was 
bantered on being a real-estate and corner-lot boomer. The news did not 
create a ripple of excitement. The lieutenant was ordered back to the Pacific 
Coast with official dispatches. 

Before going, Lieutenant Beale had gone to New York and interviewed 
his friend, William H. Aspinwall, the head of the new steamship company to 
California. He was informed of the discovery, and was advised by the young 
lieutenant to change his steamers from strictly merchandise boats to pas- 
senger-carrying steamers, since the rush of miners would soon set in for 
California. Aspinwall took the hint, and was soon able to carry thousands 
to the Pacific Coast. The story was published in the newspapers, but the 
news was hardly believed. 

Lieutenant Beale returned to California in August, and found California 
awake with the importance of the discovery. Governor Mason had visited 
Coloma in the meantime, and made out an official report that was vigorous 
enough to stop a big poker game, let alone a dignified game of chess. The 
Governor also received from one of the New York volunteers from Colonel 
Stevenson's Regiment a lump of pure gold as large as a "big potato"; and 
with the vigorous report and big lump of gold, Lieutenant Beale again set 
out for the East with orders to make them believe. Beale arrived in Sep- 
tember and made his report and exhibited his big lump of gold. Other United 
States officers, Folsom and Sherman, had also visited the mines, and .sent 



80 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

confirmatory reports. With these reports and the big lump of gold, Lieu- 
tenant Beale made some headway. On September 20, 1848, the Baltimore 
Sun published the military Governor's official report from California. The 
lump of gold as large as a large "big potato" and the publicity in the Balti- 
more Sun had the desired effect. The people woke up and believed. The 
lieutenant went to New York, and again visited his friend Aspinwall. They 
went to the steps of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street and ex- 
hibited the gold to an excited crowd, and then the "psychology of the crowd," 
as explained by the French writer, Gustave Le Bon, did the rest. What had 
hardly caused a ripple of excitement before, now almost drove the people 
to a frenzy. Gold in large chunks was in California, and the people had just 
begun to realize it. 

That wonderful showman, Barnum, who had fooled the people so many 
times and who said they liked to be humbugged, got hold of this lump of 
California gold, put a steel band around it, and suspended it by a chain in 
Barnum's Museum. The people came by thousands and this time they saw 
the real article, a pure lump of gold. The nugget was later sent to England 
and exhibited. 

It has always been conceded that the most successful early-day miners 
in California came from Georgia and North Carolina, simply because men 
from those states had acquired more or less experience in mining for gold. 
The writer, in 1876, with a friend, tramped through Northern Georgia and 
the mountain part of North Carolina. The mineral advertisements in the 
newspapers of Northern Georgia were very similar in character to those of 
Placer and Nevada Counties on mining matters. The writer saw on the 
out-skirts of Charlotte, North Carolina, a miner very busy with a "rocker" 
in a gulch or ravine. The writer's uncle, Dr. Gibbon, was for many years 
superintendent of the United States Branch Mint at Charlotte before the war 
of 1861-1865. 

The careful reader will notice several discrepancies in reading the various 
statements as to the finding of the first piece of gold. Marshall does not say 
that Weimer was with him when he picked up the gold, but on the con- 
trary states that he was "at least half a mile distant." The writer in the 
Coloma Argus, in 1855, seven years after the actual finding of the gold, makes 
it appear that Weimer was present when the gold was picked up, that both 
saw it at once and spoke the question together, "What's that yellow stuff?" 
and that Marshall picked it up, only because he was a step in advance. 

There are other discrepancies in the statements of Marshall, Weimer, 
and Sutter. For example, Weimer's statement about the purchase of the 
mining land from the Indians differs from both Marshall's and Sutter's state- 
ments, saying the consideration was only "a lot of beads and a few cotton 
handkerchiefs," while Marshall says it was $200 yearly at San Francisco 
prices. 

Sutter got the promise of secrecy from all parties for six weeks, till he 
finished his Brighton flour mill ; but Mrs. Weimer exercised her privilege as 
a woman, changed her mind, and told the whole story at the first opportunity, 
and her boys, to clinch the revelation, gave Sutter's teamster some gold. 
There seems to have been some little friction and disagreement among the 
three main actors, but not enough to change the important fact that it was 
James W. Marshall who discovered and picked up the first piece of gold at 
Coloma — or Calumma, "Beautiful Valley," as the Indians called it. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 81 

One great inaccuracy, however, they were all guilty of — none of thern 
stated the exact date of the finding of the gold. That had to be settled by an 
exhaustive examination from all available sources and diaries, nearly three- 
quarters of a century afterwards. By all parties it is now agreed that Janu- 
ary 24, 1848, is the actual date of the discovery of the first gold by Marshall, 
in Sutter's mill-race, on the South Fork of the American River. This date 
was officially adopted in Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 25, by the 
Legislature of the State of California, filed with the Secretary of State on 
May 5, 1919. 



CHAPTER VII 

RECORDS AND REMINISCENCES OF THE PIONEERS 

General Sutter's Notes * 

"Left the State of Missouri (where I resided for a many years) on the 
lth April, 1838, and travelled with the party of Men under Capt. Tripps, of 
the Amer. fur Compy, to their Rendezvous in the Rocky Mountains (Wind 
River Valley) from there I travelled with 6 brave Men to Oregon, as I 
considered myself not strong enough to cross the Sierra Nevada and go di- 
rect to California, which was my intention from my first Start on having 
got some informations from a Gent'n in New Mexico, who has been in Cali- 
fornia. 

"Under a good Many Dangers and other troubles I have passed the 
Different forts or trading posts of the Hudsons Bay Compy. and arrived at 
the Mission at the Dalls on Columbia River. From this place I crossed right 
strait through thick & thin, and arrived to the great astonishment of the 
inhabitants. I arrived in 7 days in the Valley of the Willamette, while others 
with good guides arrived only in 17 days previous to my Crossing. At fort 
Vancouver I has been very hospitably received and invited to pass the Win- 
ter with the Gentlemen of the Company, but as a Vessel of the Compy was 
ready to sail for the Sandwich Islands, I took a passage in her, in hopes 
to get Soon a Passage from there to California, but 5 long Months I had to 
wait to find an Opportunity to leave, but not direct to California, except 
far out of my Way to the Russian American Colonies on the North West 
Cost, to Sitka the Residence of the Gov'r, (Lat. 57) I remained one Month 
there and delivered the Cargo of the Brig Clementine, as I had charge of the 
Vessel, and then sailed down the Coast in heavy Gales, and entered in Dis- 
tress in the Port of San Francisco, on the 2d of July, 1839. An Officer 
and 15 Soldiers came on board and ordered me out, saying that Mon- 



* "The following rough notes of narrative, in the handwriting of the venerable 
General Sutter, the discoverer of gold in California, were found amongst the papers of 
an eminent citizen of this State, recently deceased, through the kindly courtesy oi whose 
widow we are enabled to give them to the public. As a relation of incidents in the life 
of a man held in respect by every Californian, these hasty and imperfect memoranda will, 
it is believed, have a double interest and a lasting value. We have thought it best to 
preserve, as nearly as was practicable, the quaint phraseology, erroneous orthography. 
and imperfect punctuation of the manuscript; giving, in our judgment, an added charm 
to the narrative. — San Francisco Argonaut." 



82 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

terey is the Port of entry, & at last I could obtain 48 hours to get provisions 
(as we were starving) and some repairings done on the Brig. 

"In Monterey I arranged my affairs with the Costum House, and pre- 
sented myself to the Govr Alvarado, and told him my intention to Settle 
here in this Country, and that I have brought with me 5 White Men 8 Kan- 
acas (two of them married) 3 of the White men were Mechanics, he was 
very glad to hear that, and particularly when I told him, that I intend to Set- 
tle in the interior, on the banks of the river Sacramento, because the In- 
dians then at this time would not allow white Men and particularly of the 
Spanish Origin to come near them, and was very hostile, and stole the horses 
from the inhabitants near San Jose. I got a General passport for my small 
Colony and permission to select a Territory where ever I would find it con- 
venient, and to come in one Years time again in Monterey to get my Citizen- 
ship and the title of the Land, which I have done so, and not only this, I re- 
ceived a high civil Office. 

"When I left Yerba buena (now San Francisco) after having leaved 
the Brig and dispatched her back to the S. I. I bought several small Boats 
(Launches) and Chartered the Schooner 'Isabella' for my Exploring Journey 
to the inland Rivers and particularly to find the Mouth of the River Sacra- 
mento, as I could find Nobody who could give me information, only that 
they Knew some very large Rivers are in the interior. 

"It took me eight days before I could find the entrance of the Sacramento, 
as it is very deceiving and very easy to pass by, how it happened to several 
Officers of the Navy afterwards which refused to take a pilot. About 10 
miles below Sacramento City I fell in with the first Indians which was all 
armed & painted & looked very hostile, they was about 200 Men, as some of 
them understood a little Spanish I could make a Kind of treaty with them, 
and the two which understood Spanish came with me, and made me a 
little better acquainted with the Country, all other Indians on the up River 
hided themselves in the Bushes, and on- the Mouth of Feather River they 
runned all away as soon they discovered us. I was examining the Country 
a little further up with a Boat, while the larger Crafts let go their Ankers, on 
my return, all the white Men came to me and asked me, how much longer 
I intended to travell with them in such a Wilderness. 

"The following Morning I gave Orders to return, and entered the Amer- 
ican River, landed at the farmer Tannery on the 12th. Augt. 1839. Gave 
Orders to get every thing on Shore, pitch the tents and mount the 3 Cannons, 
called the White Men, and told them that all those which are not contented 
could leave on board the Isabella, next Morning, and that I would settle with 
them imediately, and remain alone with the Canacas of 6 Men 3 remained, 
and 3 of them I gave passage to Yerba buena. 

"The Indians was first troublesome, and came frequently and would it 
not have been for the Cannons they would have Killed us for the sake of 
my property, which they liked very much, and this intention they had very 
often, how they confessed to me afterwards, when on good terms. I had 
a large Bull Dog which saved my life 3 times, when they came slyly near the 
house in the Night, he got hold of them and marked most severely, in a 
short time removed my Camps on the very spot where now the Ruins of 
Suffers fort stands, made acquaintance with a few Indians which came to 
work for a short time making Adobes, and the Canacas was building 3 
grass houses, like it is customary on the Sandwich Islands. Before I came 
up here, I purchased Cattle & Horses on the Rancho of Senor Martinez, and 
had great difficulties & trouble to get them up, and received them at least 
on the 22d October 1839. Not less than 8 Men, wanted to be in the party, as 
they was afraid of the Indians, and had good reasons to be so. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 83 

"Before I got the Cattle we was hunting Deer & Elk etc and so after- 
wards to safe the Cattle as I had then only about 500 head, 50 horses & a 
manada of 25 mares. One Year that is in the fall 1840, I bought 1000 head of 
Cattle of Don Antonio Sunol and many horses more of Don Joaquin Gomez 
and others: In the fall 1839 I have built an Adobe house covered with Tule 
and two other small buildings which in the middle of the fort, they was 
afterwards destroyed by fire. At the same time we cut a Road through 
the Woods where the City of Sacramento stand, then we made the New 
Embarcadero, where the old Zinkhouse stands now. After this it was 
time to make a Garden, and to sow some Wheat &c we broke up the soil 
with poor California ploughs. I had a few Californians employed as Ba- 
queros, and 2 of them making Cal. Carts & stocking the ploughs etc. 

"In the Spring 1840 the Indians began to be troublesome all around me. 
Killing and Wounding Cattle stealing horses, and threatening to attack us 
en Mass, I was obliged to make Campaigns against them and punish them 
severely, a little later about 2 a 300 was approching and got United on 
Consumne River, but I was not waiting for them, left a small Garrison at 
home. Cannons & other Arms loaded, and left with 6 brave men & 2 Ba- 
queros in the night and took them by surprise at Day light, the fighting 
was a little hard, but after having lost about 30 men, they was willing to 
make a treaty with me, and after this lecon they behalved very well, and be- 
came my best friends and Soldiers, with which I has been assisted to con- 
quer the whole Sacramento and a part of the San Joaquin Valley. 

"At the time the Communication with the Bay was very long and dan- 
gerous, particularly in open Boats, it is a great Wonder that we got not 
swamped a many times, all time with an Indian Crew and a Canaca at the 
helm. Once it took me (in December 1839) 16 days to go down to Yerba 
buena and to return, I went down again on the 22d Xber 39, to Yerba buena 
and on account of the inclemency of the Weather and the strong currents in 
the River I need a whole month (17 days coming up) and nearly all the 
provisions spoiled. 

"On the 23d Augt, 1841, Capt Ringold of Comadore Wilkse Exploring 
Squadron, arrived on the Embarcadero, piloted by one of the Launches In- 
dian crew, without this they would not have found so easy the entrance of 
the Sacramento. They had 6 Whaleboats & 1 Launch 7 Officers and about 
50 men in all, I was very glad indeed to see them, sent immediately saddled 
horses for the Officers, and my Clerk with an invitation to come and see 
me, at their arrival I fired a salut, and furnished them what they needed 
they was right surprised to find me up here in this Wilderness, it made a 
very good impression upon the Indians to see so many whites are coming to 
see me, they surveyed the River so far as the Butes. 

"September 4th 1841. Arrived the Russian Govr Mr. Alexander Rot- 
tihell on board the Schooner Sacramento, and offered me their whole Es- 
tablishment at Bodega & Ross for sale, and invited me to come right off with 
him, as there is a Russian Vessel at Bodega and some Officers with plein 
power, to transact this business with me, and particularly they would give 
me the preference, as they became all acquainted with me, during a months 
stay at Sitka. I left and went with him down to the Bay in Company with 
Capt. Ringold's Expedition, what for a fleet we thought then, is on the River. 
Arriving at Bodega, we came very soon to terms, from there we went to 
fort Ross where they showed me everything and returned to Bodega again, 
and before the Vessel sailed we dined on board the Helena, and closed the 
bargain for $30,000, which has been paid. And other property, was a sep- 
arate account which has been first paid. 

"On the 28th of September I dispatched a number of men and my Clerk- 
by Land to Bodega, to receive the Cattle, Horses, Mules & Sheep, to bring 
them up to Sutter's fort, called then New Helvetia, by crossing the Sacra- 



84 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

mento they lost me from about 2000 head about 100, which was drowned in 
the River, but of most of them we could safe the hides, our Cal. Banknotes 
at the time. 

"March 6, 1842. Captain Fremont arrived at the port with Kit Carson, 
told me that he was an officer of the U. S. and left a party behind in Distress 
and on foot, the few surviving Mules was packed only with the most neces- 
sary, I received him politely and his Company likewise as an old acquaint- 
ance, the next Morning I furnished them with fresh horses, & a Vaquero 
with a pack Mule loaded with Necessary Supplies for his Men. Capt. Fre- 
mont found in my establishment everything what he needed,- that he could 
travell without Delay, he could not have found it so with a Spaniard, perhaps 
by a great Many and with loosing a great deal of time. I sold him about 
60 Mules & about 25 horses, and fat young Steers or Beef Cattle, all the Mules 
& horses got Shoed, on the 23d March, all was ready and on the 24th he left 
with his party for the U. States. 

"As an officer of the Govt, it was my duty to report to the Govt, that 
Capt. Fremont arrived, Genl. Micheltorena dispatched Lieut. Col. Telles (af- 
terwards Gov. of Sinalo) with Capt. Lieut., and 25 Dragoons, to inquire what 
Captain Fremonts business was here ; but he was en route as they arrive only 
on the 27th, from this time on Exploring, Hunting & Trapping parties has 
been started, at the same time Agricultural & Mechanical business was pro- 
gressing from Year to year, and more Notice has been taken, of my estab- 
lishment, it became even a fame, and some early Distinguished Travellers like 
Doctor Sandells, Wasnesensky & others, Captains of Trading Vessels & 
Super Cargos, & even Californians (after the Indians was subdued) came 
and paid me a visit, and was astonished to see what for Work of all kinds 
has been done. Small Emigrant parties arrived, and brought me some very 
valuable Men, with one of those was Major Bidwell (he was about 4 years 
in my employ). Major Reading & Major Hensley with 11 other brave men 
arrived alone, both of these Gentlemen has been 2 years in my employ, with 
these parties excellent Mechanics arrived .which was all employed by me, like- 
wise good farmers, we made imediately Amer. ploughs was made in my 
Shops and all kind of work done, every year the Russians was bound to fur- 
nish me with good iron & Steel & files, Articles which could not be got 
here likewise Indian Beeds and the most important of all was 100 lb. of fine 
Rifle & 100 lb. of Cannon powder and several 100 lb. of Lead (every year) 
with these I was careful like with Gold. 

"June 3d 1846. I left in company of Major Reading, and most all of the 
Men in my employ, for a Campaign with the Mukelemney Indians, which 
has been engaged by Castro and his Officers to revolutionize all the In- 
dians against me, to Kill all the foreigners, burn their houses, and Wheat 
fields etc. These Mukelemney Indians had great promesses and some of 
them were finely dressed and equiped, and those came apparently on a friend- 
ly visit to the fort and Vicinity and long Conversations with the influential 
Men of the Indians, and one Night a Number of them entered in my Potrero 
(a kind of closed pasture) and was Ketching horses to drive the whole Cav- 
allada away with them, the Sentinel at the fort heard the distant Noise of 
these Horses, and gave due notice, & imediately I left with about 6 well 
armed Men and attacked them, but they could make their escape in the 
Woods (where Sac. City stands now) and so I left a guard with the horses. 
As we had to cross the Mukelemney River on rafts, one of these rafts cap- 
sized with 10 rifles, and 6 prs. of Pistols, a good supply of Ammunition, and 
the clothing of about 24 Men, and Major Reading & another Man nearly 
drowned. 

"June 16th 1846. Merritt & Kit Carson arrived with News of Sonoma 
being occupied by the Americans, and the same evening arrived as prisson- 
ers Genl. Vallejo, Don Salvador Vallejo, Lt. Col. Prudon & M. Leese, and 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 85 

given under my charge and Care, I have treated them with kindness and 
so good as I could, which was reported to Fremont, and he then told me, 
that prisoners ought not to be treated so, then I told him, if it is not right 
how I treat them, to give them in charge of somebody else. 

"Capt. Montgomery did send an Amer. flag by Lieut. Revere then in 
Command of Sonoma, and some dispatches to Fremont, I received the Order 
to hiss the flag by Sunrise from Lt. Revere, long time before daybreak, I got 
ready with loading the Canons and when it was day the roaring of the Can- 
ons got the people all stirring. Some of them made long faces, as they thought 
if the Bear flag would remain there would be a better chance to rob and 
plunder. Capt. Fremont received Orders to proceed to Monterey with his 
forces, Capt. Montgomery provided for the upper Country, established Gar- 
risons in all important places. Yerba buena, Sonoma, San Jose, and fort Sac- 
ramento. Lieut. Missroon came to organize our Garrison better and more 
Numbers of white Men and Indians of my former Soldiers, and gave me the 
Command of this Fort. The Indians have not yet received their pay yet for 
their services, only each one a shirt and a pre. of pants, & abt. 12 men got 
Coats. So went the War on in California. Capt. Fremont was nearly all 
time engaged in the lower country and made himself Governor, until Genl. 
Kearney arrived, when another Revolution took place. And Fremont for 
disobeying Orders was made prissoner by Genl. Kearney, who took him af- 
terwards with him to the U. States by Land across the Mountains. After 
the War I was anxious that Business should go on like before, and on the 
28th May, 1847, Marshall & Gingery, two Millwrights, I employed to sur- 
vey the large Millraise for the Flour Mill at Brighton. 

"May 13th, 1847. Mr. Marshall commenced the great work of the large 
Millraise, with ploughs and scrapers. 

"July 20th, 1847. Got all the necessary timber and frame of the mill- 
building. 

"August 25th. Capt Hart of the Mormon Battaillon arrived, with a good 
many of his Men on their Way to great Salt Lake, they had Orders for Govt. 
Horses, which I delivered to them, (War Horses.) not paid for yet. They 
bought provisions and got Blacksmith work done. 1 employed about Eighty 
Men of them, some as Mechanics, some as laborers, on the Mill and Millraise 
at Brighton, some as laborers at the Sawmill at Coloma. 

"Augt. 28th, 1847. Marshall moved, with P. Weimer's family and the 
working hands to Coloma, and began work briskly on the sawmill. 

"Septr. 10th. Mr. Sam'l Brannan returned from the great Salt Lake, 
and announced a large Emigration by land. On the 19th the Garrison was 
removed, Lieut't Per Lee took her down to San francisco. 

"Novr. 1th. Getting with a great deal of trouble and with breaking 
wagons the four Runs of Millstones, to the Mill Sit (Brighton) from the 
Mountains. 

"Decembr 22. Received about 2000 fruit trees with great expenses from 
Fort Ross, Napa Valley and other places, which was given in Care of 
men who called themselves Gardeners, and nearly all of the trees was neglect- 
ed by them and died. 

"January 28th, 1848. Marshall arrived in the evening, it was raining 
very heavy, but he told me that he came on important business, after we 
was alone in a private Room he showed me the first Specimens of Gold, that 
is he was not certain if it was Gold or not, but he thought it might lie; im- 
mediately I made the proof and found that it was Gold, I told him even that 
most of all is 23 Carat Gold; he wished that 1 should come up with him 
immediately, but I told him that I have to give first my orders to the peo- 
ple in all my factories and shops. 

"February 1th. Left for the Sawmill attended by a Baquero (Olimpio) 
was absent 2d, 3d, 4th. & 5th, I examined myself everything and picked up 



86 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

a few Specimens of Gold myself in the tail race of the Sawmill, this gold and 
others which Marshall and some of the other laborers gave to me (it was 
found while in my employ and Wages) I told them that I would a ring 
got made of it so soon as the Goldsmith would be here. I had a talk with 
my employed people all at the Sawmill, I told them that as they do know 
now that this Metal is Gold, I wished that they would do me the great fa- 
vor and keep it secret only 6 weeks, becavtse my large Flour Mill at Brigh- 
ton would have been in Operation in such a time, which undertaking would 
have been a fortune to me, and unfortunately the people would not keep 
it secret, and so I lost on this Mill at the lowest calculation about $25,000. 

"March 7th. The first party of Mormons, employed by me left for wash- 
ing and digging Gold and very soon all followed, and left me only the sick 
and the lame behind. And at this time I could say that every body left me 
from the Clerk to the Cook. What for great Damages I had to suffer in my 
tannery which was just doing a profitable and extensive business, and the Vats 
was left filled and a quantity of half finished leather was spoiled likewise a 
large quantity of raw hides collected by the farmers and of my own killing. 
The same thing was in every branch of business which I carried on at the 
time. I began to harvest my wheat, while others was digging and washing 
Gold, but even the Indians could not be keeped longer at Work, they was 
impatient to run to the mines, and other Indians had informed them of the 
Gold and its value ; and so I had to leave more as 2 /z of my harvest in 
the fields. 

"April 18th, 1848, more curious people arrived, bound for the Moun- 
tains. I left for Columa, in Company with Major P. B. Reading and Mr. 
Kembel (Editor of the Alta-California) we were absent 4 Days, we was 
prospecting and found Silver and iron in abundance. 

"April 28th. A great many people more went up to the Mountains. This 
day the Saw mill was in Operation and the first Dumber has been sawed in 
the whole upper Country. 

"May 1th. Saml Brannan was building a store at Natoma, Mormon 
Islands, and have done a very large and heavy business. 

"May 15th. Paid of all the Mormons which has been employed by me, 
in building these Mills and other Mechanical trades, all of them made their 
pile, and some of them became rich & wealthy, but all of them was bound to 
the great Salt Lake, and spent there their fortunes to the honor and Glory 
of the Dord ! 

"May 19th. The great Rush from San Francisco arrived at the fort, all 
my friends and acquaintances filled up the houses and the whole fort, I 1 had 
only a little Indian boy, to make them roasted Ripps, etc. as my Cooks left me 
like every body else, the Merchants, Doctors, Lawyers, Sea Captains, Mer- 
chants, etc. all came up and did not know what to do, all was in a Confusion, 
all left their wives and families in San Francisco, and those that had none 
locked their Doors, abandoned their houses, offered them for sale cheap, a 
few hundred Dollars House & Lot (Lots which are worth now $100,000 and 
more) some of these men were just like greazy. Some of the Merchants has 
been the most prudentest of the whole, visited the Mines and returned im- 
mediately and began to do a very profitable business, and soon Vessels came 
from every where with all Kind of Merchandize, the whole old thrash which 
was laying for Years unsold, on the Coasts of South & Central America, 
Mexico, Sandwich Islands etc. all found a good market here. 

"Mr. Brannan was erecting a very large Warehouse, and have done an 
immense business, connected with Howard & Green ; S. Francisco. 

"May 21th. Saml Kyburg erected or established the first Hotel in the 
fort in the larger building, and made a great deal of Money. A great Many 
traders deposited a great deal of goods in my Store (an Indian was the Key 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 87 

Keeper and performed very well) afterwards every little shanty became a 
Warehouse and Store, the fort was then a veritable Bazaar. As white people 
would not be employed at the Time, I had a few good Indians attending to 
the Ferry boat, and every night came up, and delivered the received Money 
for ferryage to me, after deducting for a few bottles of brandy, for the whole 
of them, perhaps some white people at the time would not have acted so 
honestly. 

"May 25th. The travelling to the Mines was increasing from day to day, 
and no more Notice was taken, as the people arrived from South America, 
Mexico, Sandwich Islands, Oregon etc. All the Ships Crews, and Soldiers 
deserted. In the beginning of July, Col. Mason our Military Governor, with 
Capt Sherman (Secretary of State) Capt. Folsom Quartrmstr, and an Escort 
of which some deserted, and some other Gentlemen, travelled in Company 
with the Governor. 

"As we wanted to celebrate the 4th of July we invited the Governor and 
his suite to remain with us, and he accepted. Kyburg gave us a good Diner, 
everything was pretty well arranged. Pinkett was the Orator. It was well 
clone enough for such a new Country and in such an excitement and Con- 
fusion. And from this time on you know how every thing was going on here. 
One thing is certain that the people looked on my property as their own, and 
in the Winter of 1849 to 1850. A great Number of horses has been stolen 
from me, whole Manadas of Mares driven away and taken to Oregon 'etc. 
Nearly my whole Stock of Cattle has been killed, several thousands and left 
me only a very small Quantity. The same has been done with my large stock 
of Hogs, which was running like ever under nobodies care and so it was easy 
to steal them, I had not an Idea that people could be so mean, and that they 
would do a Wholesale business in Stealing. 

"On the Upper Sacramento, that is, from the Buttes downward to the 
point or mouth of feather River there was most all of my Stock running 
and during the Overflow the Cattle was in a many bands on high spots like 
Islands, there was a fine chance to approach them in small Boats and shoot 
them, this business has been very successfully done by one party of 5 Men 
(partners) which had besides hired people, and Boats Crew's which trans- 
ported the beef to the Market at Sacramento City and furnished that City 
with my own beef, and because these Men was nearly alone, on account of 
the Overflow, and Monopolized the Market. 

"In the Spring of 1850, these 5 men divided their Spoil of $60,000 clear 
profits made of Cattle, all of them left for the Atlantic States ; one of them 
returned again in the Winter from 1850 to 51, hired a new band of Robers to 
follow the same business and kill of the balance of the few that was left. My 
Baqueros found out this Nest of theifs in ther Camp butchering just some 
head of my Cattle, on their return they informed me what they had seen, 
in the neighborhood of the same Camp they saw some more cows shot dead, 
which the Rascal then butchered. Immediately I did send to Nicolaus for the 
Sheriff (Jas Hopkins) as then at the time we had laws in force?!? after all 
was stolen and destroyed the Sheriff arrived at Hock farm I furnished him 
a Posse of my employed Men. they proceeded over on the Sacramento to 
where the thiefs were encamped, as the Sheriff wanted to arrest them they 
just jumped in their Boats and off they went, the Sheriff threatened them to 
fire at them, but that was all, and laughing they went at large. 

"One day my Son was riding after Stock a few miles below Hock farm, 
he found a Man (his name was Owens) butchering one of our finest milch 
Cows (of Durham stock of Chile, which cost $300.) He told the .Man that 
he could not take the Meat, that he would go home and get people, and so 
he has done, and he got people and a Wagon and returned to the Spot, but 
( )wens found it good to clear out. Two brothers of this Man, was respectable 



88 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Merchants in Lexington, Mo. and afterwards in Westport well acquainted 
with me, he came one day in my house and brought me their compliments, I 
received him well, and afterwards turned out to be a thief. How many of this 
kind came to California which loosed their little honor by crossing the Istmus 
or the plains. I had nothing at all to do with speculations, but stuck by the 
plough, but by paying such high Wages, and particularly under Kyburg's 
management, I have done this business with a heavy loss as the produce had 
no more the Value like before, and from the time on Kyburg left I curtailed 
my business considerable, and so far that I do all at present with my family 
and a few Indian Servants. I did not speculate, only occupied my land, in the 
hope that it would be before long decided and in my favor by the U. S. Land 
Commission ; but now already 3 years & two months have elapsed, and I am 
waiting now very anxiously for the Decision, which will revive or bring me 
to the untimely grave. 

"All the other Circumstances you know all yourself, perhaps I have re- 
peated many things which I wrote in the 3 first sheets, because I had them 
not to see what I wrote, and as it is now several months I must have for- 
gotten. Well it is only a kind of memorandum, and not a History at all, 
Only to remember you on the different periods when such and such things 
happened. 

"I need not mention again, that all the Visitors has always been hos- 
pitably received and treated. That all the sick and wounded found always 
Medical Assistance, Gratis, as I had nearly all the time a Physician in my 
employ. The Assistance to the Emigrants that is all well known. I dont 
need to write anything about this. 

"I think now from all this you can form some facts, and that you can 
mention how thousands and thousands made their fortunes from the Gold 
Discovery produced through my industry and energy, (some wise merchants 
and others in San francisco called the building of this Sawmill, another of 
Sutter's folly) and this folly saved not only the Mercantile World from 
bankruptcy, but even our General Govt, but for me it has turned out a folly, 
then without having discovered the Gold, I would have become the richest 
wealthiest man on the Pacific Shore. 

"J. A. Sutter." 

Diary of Julius Martin Nevins 

The following diary of Julius Martin Nevins was written in 1849, on 
overland trip to California with ox teams. As may be inferred from the 
frequent elipses in the diary as given below, the writing is now very dim ; 
and moreover, it is often erased. Mr. Nevins must have started about March 
28, and traveled, according to his book, about 460 miles to the general meet- 
ing-place. St. Joseph, Mo., which place he reached on May 8, 1849, is under- 
stood to be the starting-point of the trip. The diary follows : 

1849 Went 4 miles. 

20 miles. 

18 miles. 
April 2 Went 16 miles bought one hundred pounds of crackers. 

3 Went 8 miles rained to-day. 

4 Laid still all day. 

5 Went 18 miles. 

6 Went 7 miles — rained. 
'*' 7 Went 17 miles. 

8 Went 18 miles. 

9 No travel to-day. 
10 Went 15 miles. 

" 11 Went 16 miles. 



April 

it 


12 
13 


" 


15 


U 


16 


" 


17 


(t 


18 


tt 


19 


tt 


20 


tt 


21 


it 


22 


" 


23 


U 


24 


« 


25 


« 


26 


<< 


27 


" 


28 


tt 


29 


" 


30 


May 


1 
2 


if 


3 


tt 


4 


<< 


5 


(( 


6 


(( 


7 


" 


8 


it 


9 


a 


10 


a 


11 


tt 


12 


a 


13 


a 


14 


tt 


15 


a 


16 


it 


17 


tt 


18 


« 


19 


a 


20 


a 


21 


" 


22 


" 


23 


tt 


24 


" 


25 


(< 


26 


c< 


27 


<< 


28 


tt 


29 


a 


28 


tt 


29 


a 


30 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 89 

Went 6 miles. 

AVent 6 miles. 

Went 16 miles. 

Went 10 miles. 

Went 10 miles. 

Went 11 miles. 

Went 16 miles. 

Went 12 miles. 

Went 16 miles. 

Went 14 miles. 

Crossed the Des Moines — 9 miles. 

Went 14 miles. 

Went 20 miles. 

Went 13 miles. 

Went 20 miles. 

Went . . miles. 

Went 15 miles — crossed Grand River. 

Went 15 miles. 

Went 14 miles. Lost old star. 

Went 14 miles. 

Went 8 miles. 

Went 12 miles. 

Went 20 miles. 

Went 3 miles. 

Went 18 miles. 

W r ent 8 miles — reached St. Jo., Missouri. 

Crossed Missouri at St. Jo. 

Went 7 miles in the Indian Territory over low bottom land. 

No travel — had a long thunder storm. 

Went 15 miles over high rough prairie. 

Went 12 miles over high and handsome prairie — water and timber 

scarce. 
Went 12 miles over prairie — no water. 
Went 20 miles — high and rolling prairie — timber scarce. 
Went 20 miles over high and rolling prairie — crossed Little Blue. 
Went 15 miles over high and rolling prairie. 
Went 22 miles over prairie — crossed the Big Blue 120 miles from 

St. Jo. 
Went 15 miles over high prairie — water scarce. 
Went 12 miles — level prairie. Sunday to-day. 
Went 17 miles over prairie — wood and water scarce. 
Went 12 miles to-day. We saw 9 antelope. 
Went 18 miles over prairie up the Blue. 
Went 12 miles. 
Went 16 miles. 

Went 16 miles and camped 4 miles — crossed the Platte. 
Went 15 miles — reached the Platte river and Fort Child — 300 

miles from St. Jo, Sunday. 
Went 15 miles camped on the Platte bottoms. 
Went 16 miles over the Platte bottoms. The bottoms are from 

one mile to 4 wide level as a house floor. 
Went 4 miles on the Platte bottoms. 
Went 20 miles. 
Went 18 miles to-day — went to the bluffs— went 2 miles from the 

river — a party of 5 of us went and a jola and had a it 

the bluffs side from 50 to 300 feet high — they are made of clay. 



May 


31 


June 


1 


" 


2 


" 


3 


a 


4 


n 


5 



90 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Went 12 miles. 

Went 15 miles. 

Went 16 miles. 

No tra : l — our have killed 3 buffalos. 

Went 15 miles — arrived at the south fork of the Platte river. 

Went 15 miles — crossed the Platte — water 18 inches deep — sandy 
bottom — y^ mile wide — current very rapid — to-day our train 
passed through the Sioux village which has a population of 500 
Indians. We crossed the Platte one mile below the Cash bluffs, 
which derived its name from the traders hiding their goods at 
the foot of the bluff in the bushes — the bluffs are about 100 feet 
high — the main crossing is forty miles above. This crossing, 
where we crossed it, was about 5 miles above the mouth and 8 
miles across to the other fork. 

6 Went 12 miles and camped on the North fork — rained. 

7 Went 20 miles— drove till 9 o'clock. 

8 Went 15 miles — had to-day a stampede in our train. 

9 Went 14 miles over sandy bottom. 

10 Went 15 miles. 

11 Went 14 miles and camped 7 miles from Castle Rock in sight of/' 

chimbly rock. 1 

" 12 Went 14 miles and camped within one mile of chimney rock — 

this rock you can see about 20 miles — it is composed of a sand 

stone, very soft — it is about 150 feet from the base and 20 feet 

in diameter — it is now raining very hard. ^^^ 
13 Went 30 miles — camped at Scotts Blufr. f "jr) 
" 14 Went 16 miles — saw the Rocky Mountains: 

15 Went 10 miles. 
" 16 Went' 12 miles and 4 miles from fort Laramie. 
" 17 Went 8 miles — crossed the Laramie River. 
" 18 Went 18 miles — passed hot spring. 

19 Laid still to-day. G. W. Benton died out of our train — we buried 

him 22 miles from Fort Laramie beside of Bitter Creek. He was 

from La Porte, Iowa. 
" 20 Went 20 miles. 
" 21 Went 18 miles. 

" 22 Went 18 nrles — passed the marble quarry. 

" 23 Went 20 miles — camped on Deer Creek 110 miles from Laramie. 
" 24-25 No travel — recruiting. 

25 Went 6 miles — bought a rope and paid 16 dollars for it — ferried 

over 5 teams for 15 dollars and then sold it for the same we gave. 
" 26 Went 5 miles — we crossed the Platte to-day on a raft 28 miles 

from the ford. 
" 27 Went 18 miles up Platte. 
" 28 Went 29 miles — no water to-day — passed 24 dead oxen today — ■ 

camped in willow springs. 
" 29 Went 21 miles and reached the Sweetwater river. 
July 1 Recruited to-day. 

2 Went 20 m'les to-day — passed Independence Rock and Devils | 

Gate — Grass good. 

3 Went 18 miles — snowed this morning — we came in sight Medicine 

Mountains white with snow. 

4 Went 22 miles — the off ox of the Hawks yoke died today. 

5 Went 9 miles and camped to recruit. 

6 and 7 Laid over. 
8 Went 17 miles. 






' 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 91 

July 9 AA'ent 18 miles and camped on the Pacific spring — the first water 
that flows toward the Pacific ocean. It forms the head waters 
of the Colorado. This spring is 3% miles from the south pass 
through the pass the road is a beautiful carriage road. 

10 Went 22 miles and camped on the Little Sandy, a stream 20 feet 

wide. 

11 Went 9 miles and camped — preparation to crossing the desert — 

four o'clock we started and was 22 hours crossing the desert 
co. — good road and some grass — it is 93 miles across. 

12 In camp on Green river — this river we had to ferry — generally it 

is not more than 2 feet — the ferry is by Mormons and they charge ( 
4 dollars a wagon. 

13 and 14 No travel. 
15 Went 12 miles from Green River on Snake Creek — good roads 

plenty of good water. 
" 16 Went 18 miles — good grass and water. 

17 Went 16 miles — crossed the fork — handsome table land 

where we camped to-night. 

18 Went 16 miles — we passed over the hardest road we have passed 

yet — we reached the Bear river. 

19 Went 18 miles — good water and grass. 

20 Went 20 miles to-day — left the Bear river bottoms and passed 

over some high mountains for 8 miles. 

21 Went 15 miles — left the river to-day for five miles. 

22 Went 14 miles today — we arrived at the soda spring and had a 

good sip of water — tastes like soda water. This afternoon went 
to the steam-boat spring — it is the greatest curiosity I ever saw 
— the water forces itself up through a hole six inches in diam- 
eter to the height of two feet. The water is more than milk 
warm — it is soda water. 

23 Went 17 miles today — we took the left-hand road 47 miles from 

Fort Hall. We left Fort Hall to the right and rode in water for 
13^2 miles — grass good. 

24 Went 17 miles — 3 watering places to-day — one in six miles one 5 

and this in 6 miles — good grass anywhere. 

25 Went 15 miles — good water in 8 miles and grass 7 miles. Further 

on good water and grass — camped for night. — water froze over 
in our wash basin last night. 

26 AA'ent 30 miles — left Willow Creek this morning — went 6 miles to 

a large spring. This is the last water for 24 miles. The road 
went through the six-mile pass — bad hill — good grass. 

27 Went 18 miles — water salty where we camped last night — went 

seven miles this morning — found a spring here two miles further 
on, a good spring about six rods to the left of the road — seven 
miles further on good spring brook — went 2 miles down the creek 
and camped for the night. 

28 AYent 12 miles — followed down the creek for 4 miles where it 

sinks in the sand — no more water for 8 miles nor grass — camped 
on a creek deep in the bottom — good grass and water. 

29 AA'ent 9 miles — water in 5 miles — good grass 4 miles farther up 

the creek — we camped, the cut-off road intersected the Fori 1 1 all 
road — we traveled this road 15 miles. 

30 AA'ent 17 miles — traveled up the creek for six miles and crossed it — ■ 

good spring — hay a mile from the creek — 3j/> miles further on 
spring and grass to the right of the road 60 rods — 5 miles further 
on a small brook — within 5 miles two brooks — 1 miles further 
on, good spring. 



92 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

July 31 Went 21 miles — water in 4 miles — 4 miles further on good spring 
— 2 miles good spring run — 8 miles further on good spring — 
3 miles further on you arrive at Goose Creek — good grass — 
water rather poor here — we camped for the night — to-day we 
passed the mormon road from Salt Lake — it is 180 miles from 
the Mormon City to the junction of the road and 9 miles to the 
Humboldt river. Today we left the ox we bought in Missouri. 

Aug. 1 Went 16 miles up Goose Creek — good grass — poor water. 

2 Went 25 miles — followed Goose Creek up 5 miles — no water for 

13 miles — went 7 miles and camped no water no grass today. 

3 Went 17 miles down warm spring valley — went 2 miles found 

good spring to the left of the road — no more water for 10 miles 
excepting in sloughs — grass good — good road. 

4 Went 22 miles — good water in six miles — 6 miles further on good 

water and grass — Reached the head waters of Marys fork, a 
branch of the Humboldt. 

5 Went 8 miles down Mary Creek — good grass — went over 

the hardest road yet. 

6 Went 18 miles — followed down the creek — Reached Humboldt. 

7 Went 18 miles down the Humboldt — good grass. 

8 Went 18 miles down the Humboldt — good grass. 

9 Went 20 miles — poor grass — crossed the river 4 times — good road. 

10 Went 26 miles today — we left the river for 20 miles — rough road — 

no water for 12 miles — no grass today. 

11 Went 10 miles — poor grass — very cold nights. 

12 Went 14 miles — grass & water better. 
" 13 Went 8 miles. 

14 Went 17 — good grass. 

15 Went 18 miles — left the river today for 8. 

16 Went 16 miles — rough road — very sandy — poor grass. 

17 Went 16 miles — poor grass, 

18 Went 16 miles— good grass — heavy road. 

19 No travel — sandy. 

20 Went 15 miles — no grass — heavy, sandy road. 

21 Went 16 miles — no grass — went 14 mile cut off — no water. 

22 Went 6 miles — did prepare today to take another cut off or cut 

on — went 15 to water and did not get any — then 25 miles to 
some wells — got a little water — we had another ox give out 
today and had to throw away our wagon, all of our tools and 
some of our bedding; in all the amount of nearly 200 dollars 
— we had three oxen left — we joined in with another team from 
Carol County, Illinois — the names were James Smith and Sam 
Balis — Wooding very sick — 30 miles further on grass and hot 
water — we only our clothing and bedding 60 pounds of flour 
and 60 of bread and our groceries carried. 

27 Wooding very sick — lay over. 

28 Lay over. 

29 ' Went 25 miles and laid over 2 days — Wooding grows worse. 

30 Went 12 miles — laid over 2 days. 

Sept. 2 Went 15 miles. Today C. F. Wooding died. We buried him 
about 120 miles from the Humboldt on the southern Oregon 
road. 

3 Went 30 miles — traveled all night — went over a 20 mile streak 

— no wood nor grass. 

4 Went 12 miles — reached warm spring and in sight of the Sierra 

Nevada. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 93 

Sept. 5 Went 7 miles — good water and grass and camped at the foot of 
the Sierra Nevadas. 

6 Went 8 miles along the foot of the mountains — came to the Eoot 

of the pass — I am sick today. 

7 'Went 10 miles over the main side of the Sierra Nevada — just 

had trouble team six yoke of cattle — road very smooth up 
and down. 

8 Went 12 miles on a ridge of the mountains through heavy pine 
forest. 

9 Went 15 miles — crossed several mountain streams. Pretty sick 
today. Oh! AIv wife how I want your kind and gentle care. 

10 Went 15 miles — sick today — Very. 

11 Went 20 miles — very sick. 

12 Went 15 miles — very weak and have a bad sore throat. 

13 Went 14 miles — sick today. 

14 Went 12 miles — sick today. 

15 Went 12 miles — s:'ck today 

16 Went 16 miles — sick today. 

17 Went 16 miles. 

18 Went 13 miles — sick today. 

19 Laid over today — feel some better. 

20 Went 17 miles, rather on the gain today. 

21 Went 15 miles — feel bad today. 

22 Went 15 miles. 

23 Went 12 miles — Dysentery pretty bad. 

24 No travel today — feel some better today. 

25 Went 14 miles — On the gain today. 

26 Went 18 miles — no water nor grass — better today. 

27 Went 12 miles — rough road. 

28 Went 12 miles — good deal better. 

29 Went 10 miles. 

30 Went 3 miles — arrived on the Sacramento river today — hand- 
some vallev. 

Oct. 1 No travel. 

2 No travel. 

3 Traveled all night — went 25 miles. 

4 Went 8 miles. 

5 Went 25 miles — reached the Feather river and camped on its bank. 

6 Went 11 miles — around the Feather river today. 

7 Went 7 miles — camped on Feather river. 

8 No travel today. 

9 Went 12 miles — reached Yuba river. 

10 Went 20 miles up the Yuba. 

1 1 Landed myself at Roses bar. 

12 Went to work. 

A total of 2301 miles traveled. Time consumed: From about March 
28, 1849, to October 11, 1849, or six months and thirteen days. 

Early Letter of Julius Martin Nevins 

The following is the first letter written home by Julius Martin Nevins. 
It was sent to his father. Russell .\1. Nevins, at the old home in Wisconsin, 
after his arrival in California. 

Sacramento City, December 2nd. 1849. 
".My dear parents, wife, brother — Morilla, God bless her. 

"I now write you all for the first time from California, the golden land, 
to let you know that I am alive and well — hoping this may find you all in 



94 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

good health and spirits, for I have not heard a word from you since the St. 
Jo. letter. 

"I feel a little cross to think that you did not think of me enough to have 
a letter here for me when I got here, but hope you will make up now for 
lost time. 

"Since I wrote you from Fort Laramie, fortune has used me rather 
rough. On the fourth day of July we lost the off ox of the Hawk's team. 

"July 31st we lost the ox we bought in Missouri. August 22nd — today 
we lost an ox, and had to have our wagon and all our tools sold — our pro- 
visions and what we could . . . Wooding very sick. We now joined 
another team from Illinois that had to . . . cattle . . . We had 
three — all I saved was a two bushel bag full and some bedding — but before 
I go further I will let you know where we were when this happened. 

"We had left the Humboldt river sixty miles from its sink to take, as 
was told us a much shorter route — this road against my advice. I cussed 
and swore enough to have carried a sawmill, but to no purpose. Wooding 

was contrary as a d h ; he never would agree with me in anything. 

The road we took had 80 miles of desert, and but one watering place, and 
not a spear of grass — the other road had 50 miles of desert — but water in 
three places. Wooding grows worse until September 2nd when Chauncey 
F. Wooding ended his earthly career — he was buried on the Southern Ore- 
gon road about 120 miles from the Humboldt river. 

"Father, I leave it to you to tell his relatives of his sad fate. I ought to 
have written to them, but have not. His disorders were his old complaints 
of his liver and a nerve disease we had on the road called the mountain fever — ■ 
he was very obstinate — he would not take the doctors medicine (much less 
mine) — for I believe as I am a living man, I could have saved him — his 
property I have in my possession, and when I come home I will pay it to 
Helen Wooding — Miltons girl, as he directed me 4 days before his death. 

"We crossed the Sierra Nevadas September 7th in the lowest spot in 
the whole ridge. 8 yoke of cattle would pull up a wagon with 15 hundred in 
it. The mountain was about as steep as the roof of a house for one mile — 
road very good. 

"I was taken sick this morning — my disorder was the mountain fever. 
I was taken with the head ache and back ache, and almost froze to death 
after the coldness left me — then the fever — gosh ninety didn't I catch it. 
I felt a little scared too, because so many had died with this disorder, but 
I took a big dose of the greate westerous — they operated gloriously — then 
I down with the quinine by the cart load, and got better. We descended 
the west side of the mountains very fast, but I did not regain my health 
till about the first of October. 

"We arrived on the Sacramento river at the mouth of deer . . . 
Sept. 30th having lost every ox but old brin, and three weeks of time cov- 
ering this northern route — we were one hundred and fifty miles in Oregon 
when we passed the ridge of the mountains. After resting three days we 
descended the river to the Feather river — we forded it — it is as large a stream 
as Rock river. I now give old brin to be carried to the Yuba river mine, 
35 miles, which we called 50 dollars — October 12 went to work — took a 
job — made 17J4 per day for two days. I worked in the mines I6J/2 days 
and made in that time $215.00 and spent in that time $40.34. I had $135.00 
when I got to the mines — but my pile is a good deal smaller now — $280.00. 
All told it is very hard work in the mines — use pans — cradles — quick silver — ■ 
machines to work gold. The mines are as good as you hear them to be — but 
I would never advise the meanest dog in Christendom to come to California. 
Flour is worth in the mines 1.25 per pound — pork 1. 50— sugar .50 coffee .50 
per pound molasses 3.50 gallon, Brandy .50 a drink — Beef .30 a pound, and so 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 95 

on every thing in proportion — but things are cheaper here than in the States 
for money's [MS. torn.] 

"My dearest wife it is going on seven long months since I have heard 
from you— long seems separation, when shall we meet again? God only 
knows — long months and years must pass ere. that time arrives, but keep 
up good cheer — for let me get once home, and nothing but death will separ- 
ate us. My prospects are not very flattering at present, but I hope for bet- 
ter times — luck must turn. I lost my all a-getting here, but look for me home 
next fall, if I live. 

"It is very sickly here at present — many are dying every day — while 
I write this two are carried to their long homes. This is Sunday night, and 
1 am writing by a tallow candle that cost .25 cents up in the second story 
of a large brick tavern house, which rents for $1800.00 per month. 

"Father, your wages here would be 20 dollars per day and found. I 
pay 21 dollars per week for my board, brick 80 dollars per thousand — lumber 
40* dollars [torn] feet. 

"Sacramento City contains at present about 20.000 inhabitants. The 
houses are made of all sorts of materials — cloth sheet iron, wood, and sun- 
dried bricks, called doubas, the brick are red — no lime short of the bay — 80 
miles. Oxen are worth from 50 to 200 dollars per yoke — mules 150, horses 
50 to 300 dollars each ; Friday and Saturday I made 27^4 dollars cutting wood 
which is 10 dollars per cord. Potatoes are 40 cents per pound — every thing 
here sold by the pound. Medicine is plenty here — quinine is 10 per ounce — 
Cholagogue 5 dollars per bottle. Doctors are plenty — one visit 10 dollars. 

"The Sacramento is about a quarter of a- mile wide. There are about fifty 
ships here in the river, used as store houses and boarding houses. There are 
5 steam boats on the river, some go as high up as Vernon, a smart little 
town at the mouth of the Feather river — the town is as big as Fort Atkinson 
and only 4 months old. [One line torn and missing.] 

"The American river city lots [torn] are selling from 1000 to 30,000 
dollars each. 

"This country is improving the fastest of any country on the face of 
the earth — little towns and mighty cities spring up in the short space of 
three months. The population of this country cannot be less than one hun- 
dred thousand. 

"The last of the land emigration is in. I have seen one poor fellow 
with his fingers frozen. We have had but two frosts in the valley. It has 
rained a good deal here, and snowed in the mountains — the lofty mountains 
are white with snow, and have been this two weeks. The rain caused the 
rivers to rise so as to drive the miners from their work. I do not expect to 
earn any more than my board this winter, although some that got Into the 
mines three or four weeks before me have four, five, six and even ten thous- 
and dollars and [Line torn and destroyed. | 

"H. Codwise is on the North American fork and is well. He is the only 
one that I know. 

"Good order prevails here as well as in the states. Gambling is our 
worst vice here. There is gambling going on in every public house in the Cit) . 

"My father that little book is on the window stool before me — that 
goes when I go and death will part us. Father I had to throw away the note 
book, but saved one tune — sing it father and think of your unhappy son 
thousands of miles away. I am not the only one that wishes himself home — 
often do my thoughts wander back to the fire side of my family. < >h ! My 
Mother how I wish I had taken up with your advice and staid at home. 

"But I have nobody to blame but myself. Melvin — when yon eat your 
meals think of your brother that has lived five days on beef and no salt at 
that — would I be glad of the bread in the swill pail — 1 guess 1 would. I 
was hemmed in with high water on the Bear river. 



96 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

"My wife kiss 'little Rilla for me and tell her that her parent far away 
thinks of his child and home — then he is the biggest baby of the two. . . . 
if we were once more in that little brick house happy, I should be — what 
I called hard fare, was comfort compared with what I now get. I am 
not contented here by no means. I want to go to the mines but I cant at 
present. 

"Weather is beautiful. I must finish my letter of odds and ends — for 
no two lines stick together. 

"Give my respects to Ben and Louisa and the little one. To uncle Ty- 
ler and Jason, and Aunt Rosaline — and all enquiring friends, if I have any. 

"My parents, I remain your repentant son — My wife your affectionate 
husband — My brother good-by — God bless my child. 

"Direct your letters to Sacramento City — for this is the handiest to all 
the mines. Send your letter by New York. 

"My parents — my wife write to me 2 a month." 

The foregoing wonderfully interesting letter was written on two sheets 
of paper 10 by 16 inches in size. The letter was started on a sheet having 
a large wood-cut view of San Francisco. The actual view is three inches 
high and thirteen inches long, and has in one corner "Dinwiddie Pacific 
News Office." Beneath are the words, "View of San Francisco, Upper Cal- 
ifornia, from the East." The sheets are unruled, except as they had been 
closely lined out by the writer with pencil. The letter was written with 
ink. It was folded old style, edges tucked in, sealed with red wax, and ad- 
dressed, "Russel M. Nevins — Aztalan — Jefferson County — State of Wiscon- 
sin." Postmarked : "40 40 Sacramento, Dec. 4 Cal." 

The reader will notice, in perusing the letter, and on reading his diary 
of daily travel, that about August 15 his party left the Humboldt River not 
far from where Humboldt City is now located. Nevins says they were 
about sixty miles from the "sink" of the river. If they had continued down 
the Humboldt for sixty miles, they would have had good water and grass 
for their starving stock. From the "sink" they would have been only about 
fifty miles from the bend of the Truckee River, where it turns north and 
flows into Pyramid Lake. Fremont (on his first trip), Sutter and thousands 
of others came into California through Oregon. Strange infatuation ! 

From the earliest days there seems to have been displayed a sort of 
fatal demoniacal perverseness in seeking the best route into the central part 
of California. Thousands of immigrants bore all the dangers and hard- 
ships of two thousand miles of travel, came down the Humboldt with good 
water and feed to within less than 100 miles of the Truckee River, with 
more good water and feed, and to within about 200 miles from Sacramento 
City, then the goal of all intending miners, the outfitting place for all the 
miners of this future State ; yet then and there, many were persuaded to turn 
northeast and cross a most dangerous desert, known then as Black Rock 
Desert. Nevins says it was eighty miles across, with no grass and with 
but one watering-place. The whole route was a death-trap, but a majority 
of his party were determined to follow that ignis fatuus, the Southern Ore- 
gon road. 

The letter shows that Nevins lost all his oxen but one, and also lost his 
wagon and tools. He went hundreds of miles out of his way up into Oregon, 
lost three weeks of time, and nearly lost his life from the dreadful sufferings 
of the Southern Oregon road. He bitterly opposed going that route; and 
in view of the consequences hardly anyone blames him for doing some healthy 
robust cussing on leaving a fair road for a danarerous one. The mournful 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 97 

results sustained his wise judgement in opposing the alleged "shorter and 
better route." 

But immigrants and tourists seem to be still very perverse, though 
now it :s the Ford, Overland and Pierce-Arrow drivers, eight out of ten, it 
is said, who coolly and insistently turn southwest at Ely, Nev., claiming as 
a justification that they can reach Los Angeles with forty-four less miles of 
travel than in going to San Francisco. Hundreds of miles of desert travel 
are endured to reach the Mojave paved road, when a better road through 
Nevada, and fine mountain grades over the mountains, would take the tour- 
ist to the head of the State system of paved roads at Placerville or Auburn, 
near Sacramento, the capital of the State. It is a far cry to say that one must 
go to Los Angeles or San Francisco to reach California. From Sacramento 
the tourist can travel hundreds of miles in all directions over fine cement 
roads. But, of course, those forty-four miles saved at Ely, Nev., overbalance 
many hundreds of miles of blinding desert travel. The tourist may be 
contented and happy, for is he not persuaded that he is on the alleged "short- 
er and better route"? — as were the Nevins party when they foolishly left the 
Humboldt meadows, plunged into the Black Rock Desert, and went hun- 
dreds of miles wide of their destination at Sacramento, so that they could 
reach California by the "shorter and better route," via Oregon. 

Prices in 1849 

The following are extracts from an account book kept in 1849 at Barnes' 
store, on the North Fork of the American River, by P. M. Backus. It shows 
the prices of eatables and drinkables thought necessary by the miners of 
those days. The accounts, which were published in the Placer Herald, of 
January 25, 1873, are all for the months of June, July and August, 1849. 

"Doctor" One bottle gin $ 6.00 

Two lbs. biscuit, $1.25 per lb 2.50 

One lb. figs 1.50 

To one pair socks 3.00 

D. T. Crabtree, one lb. sugar 2.00 

"Uncle Ben," to one pair socks 3.00 

L. Battaile, T. S. Dillahuntv, M. Godburv, 

To 19 pounds po'rk. $1.50 per lb 28.00 

25 lbs. flour at 62y 2 c per lb 15.62 

36 lbs. pork and ham 54.00 

1 cotton handkerchief M ' 

To hire of one pack-horse 10.00 

1 ham, 16 lbs 24.00 

1 bottle molasses 2.00 

1 quart beans 2.00 

L. Battaile, 1 B. knife 2.50 

Captain Slade & Co., 30 lbs. flour, 62}k 18.75 

Mr. Maynard, 2 bottles ale, $2.50 5.00 

Jose, the Chillano, 1 lb. chocolate 2.50 

"1 day's board 3.00 

Mr. Bower, to one day's board for self and young Smith 5.00 

Mr. Lennox, 25 lbs. sugar 18.00 

5 lbs. figs 7.50 

12 lbs. dried apples _.">.00 

4 fathoms rope 5-00 

Dr. Fruit, 3 lbs. bread *-7S 

4 



98 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 



Robt. H. McPherson, I caddy tea 

2 bottles pickles. 
1 bottle gin 

1 bottle brandy. 

2 drinks 

Johannes Ohissen, to 1 pair linen pants 
Mr. Rodgers, to 1 blank book 

to 1 pair scales 

Wadleigh, to 1 serape 

Y? lb. tobacco ' 

Griswold & Co., 12 lbs. pork 

y 2 Vo. soap 

1 lb. bread 

Major Briggs, 10 drinks 

1 box matches 

3 drinks 

drinks 

y 2 bottle brandy 

1 bottle wine 
y* doz cigars 
provisions 
8 cigars 
1 handkerchief 
Watermellon 

8 drinks 

1 doz. cigars 

y 2 bottle brandy 

pants . 

Benj. Ogden, 1 box salt 

1 butcher knife 

1 kettle 

1 axe and handle 

2 pipes 

1 bottle pepper sauce . 
1 stew pan 

J. C. Fruit, 1 lb. saleratus 

James Fort, 1 tin pan 

1 cup 

1 plug of tobacco 

1 purse 

1 lb. nails 

1 bag 

1 pail 

1 bottle pickles 

A. B. Harding, 1 box cigars 

John Piper, 1 frying pan 

G. Gautz, 1 lb. potatoes 

F. A. Boughton, 1 lb. coffee 

1 lb. crackers 

4 lbs. rice 

1 tin pan 

1 bag 

1 shovel 

1 pick 

1 box yeast powders 
1 paper tobacco .... 
James Ewers, 1 magnet 




10.00 

14.00 
6.00 
8.00 
1.00 
5.00 
1.00 

12.00 

8.00 

.63 

18.00 
.75 
1.25 
5.00 
.50 
1.50 
6.00 
4.00 
5.00 
2.25 
2.00 
1.00 



1.50 
4.00 

23.00 
1.50 
2.00 

14.00 

10.00 

.50 

3.00 

8.00 

10.00 

16.00 
2.00 
1.50 
2.00 
.75 
2.00 
5.00 
6.00 

15.00 
7.00 
1.00 
.75 
1.50 
2.00 

16.00 
1.50 
8.00 

12.00 
3.00 
1.00 

12.00 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 99 

Robert Johnson, 1 bottle porter $ 5.00 

Thomas Gautz, 2 meals 3.00 

2 sodas 1 .00 

Mr. Hall. 3 boxes sardines 9.00 

Ferris & Co.. 17}. i lbs. bacon 41.75 

Geo. Rogers. 2 apples 3.00 

A. B. Kellogg, 1 paper pepper 1 .00 

Jas. A. Cunningham. 1 shirt 4.00 

The following is a copy of a bill of goods purchased in Auburn by M. D. 
Fairchild, and preserved by him as a memento of the olden time: 

Auburn, December 12, 1849. 
Mr. Fairchild bought of YVetzler & Co. 

12 lbs. rice, @ 75 cts $ 9.00 

9 lbs. meal, @ 75 cts 6.75 

1 1 lbs. sugar, @ 80 cts 8.80 

10 lbs. cherries (dried), @ 80 cts 8.00 

10 lbs. peaches (dried), (g $1.00 10.00 

2 lbs. tea, @ $1.50 3.00 

77 lbs. pork, @ 80 cts 61.60 

85 lbs. beef (corned), @ 50 cts 42.50 

10 lbs. raisins, @ 60 cts 6.00 

1 lb. candles, @ $2.00 2.00 

150 lbs. flour, @ 60 cts 90.00 

$247.65 
Paid, Wetzler & Co. 

The payment was in gold dust at $16 per ounce, the usual currency of 
the time. This bill of goods could have been supplied at Auburn in 1881 
for about $33.50; yet the purchase was made at a rather favorable season 
of the year, as prices were much higher after the severe weather of the winter 
of 1849-1850 came, flooding Sacramento City and rendering the roads dif- 
ficult to travel. 

The above prices are copied from the History of Placer County by 
Thompson and West, page 80. Most of the articles purchased look reas- 
onable and necessary, and the times were very similar to the present, for the 
country was just recovering from a foreign war, the war with Mexico. The 
prices were a little inflated. The profiteer was an old bird even then, it seems. 
As there are no separate dates assigned to the items, it is presumed the 
goods were all bought at the time the charges were made. 

It is interesting to examine the bill of Major Rriggs. He must have 
had a good-sized "toot" that day at Barnes' store, or have had lots of friends 
to assist him with his purchases. The drinkables cost $29.50, cigars $4.75 : 
matches, provisions and handkerchief cost $3.25. We will admit the Major 
cut a four-dollar watermelon that clay, and must have enjoyed his twenty- 
three-dollar pair of pants immensely. 

The reader may recall that some soldiers mined on the ravine at Sol- 
dier's Spring in the early summer of 1849, and later went to Barnes' Bar, 
on the North Fork of the American. It mav be possible that Briggs was 
a member of Colonel Stephenson's disbanded regiment, who developed his 
military title of "Major" the day he bought his matches, handkerchief, melon, 
twenty-three-dollar pants, and other incidentals. One has to have a strong 
imagination to fully appreciate those heroic days. 



100 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Occupations of Early Days 

To show how great the proportion of miners was above all other calling's, 
the writer selects two pages from the Directory of the County of Placer 
for the year 1861, one containing forty-nine names with the letter M, resi- 
dents of Forest Hill, and the other containing fifty-one names beginning with 
the letter S, residents of Michigan Bluff (including seven from Last Chance) 
and Yankee Jims, as follows : 

Forest Hill: Maur'ce, Jos., porter in Forest House; Mills, John S., teams- 
ter; Miller, Alfred, miner; Miller, Abraham, miner; Miller, Henry, miner; 
McC'anahan, Wm., miner; McRae, Geo., miner; Mclntire, Benj., miner; 
McGill, James, miner; Monroe, J. M. K., saloon keeper; Mclnnerny, Pat, 
miner; McManus, Thos., miner; McCullin, Michael, miner; Maye, Herman, 
miner ; McCullough, A. miner ; McCullough, L. J., miner ; McClary, Carr, 
blacksmith; McKinnan, Daniel, miner; McLean, James, painter; Mewer, Jas., 
miner; Mewer, Wm., miner; Manix, John, saloon keeper; McGlin, Daniel, 
miner; Mills, John L., miner; Mundell, John, printer; Marshall, D. P., miner; 
Moore, John, miner; Morrison, John, watchman; McKean, John, miner; Mc- 
Kean, Wm., miner; McCorcle, S., miner; McComb, Wm., miner; Morehead, 
A., miner; McDougle, D., miner; McDougle, Wm., miner; McFee, C, miner; 
McDermott, John, miner; McAvoy, Joseph, miner; Myers, Mark H., miner; 
McMannery, Thos., miner; Maus, Matthew, miner; Moore, Samuel, miner; 
Melton, Wm. J., miner; Moore, Alex., miner; May, Martin, miner; McGlenn, 
Daniel, miner; McQuade, James P., miner. Michigan Bluff: Smith, A., 
miner; Prould, James, miner; Steeley, James, miner; Spear, Wm., miner; 
Simmons, Pelig, miner; Smith, Wm., miner (Last Chance); Snyder, E. H., 
miner (Last Chance) ; Sherd, W., miner (Last Chance) ; Sperry, G. F., 
miner (Last Chance) ; Shellback, A., miner (Last Chance) ; Streete, Solon, 
miner (Last Chance); Sykes, N., miner (Last Chance); Seeley, I., miner; 
Smily, Chas., miner; Shain, W. C, miner; Strobridge, R., miner; Swin- 
son, Chris, miner; Stackhonn, J. S., miner; Sibley, E., miner; Seeley, 
Wm., miner ; Sayles, Louis, miner ; Shier, Adam, ranchman, Smith, Wm., 
ranchman ; Stewart, J. C, ditch superintendent ; Smith, H. C, miner ; Stark- 
weather, J. M., miner; Sprinkles, Wm., miner; Starkweather, E. M., miner; 
Steele, P. L., miner; Stanford, Lyman, merchant; Sherman, black- 
smith; Smith, A. B., miner; Spear, David, miner; Smith, W., miner; Stam- 
mer, C, miner. Yankee Jims: Sanburn, J. L., tax collector; Spudy, Samuel, 
butcher; Simpson, Wm., millman ; Stander, Henry, miner; Sherwood, John, 
miner; Smith, A., miner; Smith, A. T., miner; Simpson, E. B., miner; Sheche, 
Pat, miner; Sheche, Tim, miner; Swett, M., miner; Sevey, Eh, miner; Sher- 
ley, E. P., miner; Sanborn, D. S., dairyman; Smith, John N., miner. 

Of the hundred men whose names are found on these two pages of the 
Directory of Placer County for 1861, eighty-three are miners. 

Newspaper Advertisements 

Much information as to the personnel and population of the early min- 
ing towns is obtainable either directly or by inference from a perusal of the 
business advertisements and the lists of unclaimed letters published in the 
newspapers of pioneer days. 

A sample advertising column on the front page of the Herald of October 
23, 1852, has the following business cards. 

H. O. Ryerson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, Auburn, Placer Co. 

B. F. Myres, Attorney at Law, Auburn, Cal. 

Ralph W. Thomas, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, Auburn, Placer 
County. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 101 

Hale & Hopkins, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law, Placet Co., Cal., 
will give their joint attention to all civil business entrusted to their care. 
Jas. E. Hale, Yankee Jims. R. D. Hopkins, D : strict Attorney, Auburn. 

Empire Hotel and General Stage House. Auburn, Placer County, by 
H. M. Honn. 

Justices' Rlanks, Posters, Ouartz certificates, cards, &c, neatly printed 
at the office of the Placer Herald. 

Britton & Co. Butchers and dealers in stock. Shop on Court street, 
one door from the National, Auburn, Sept. 18. 

Blacksmithing of all kinds done to order upon the lowest terms : also, 
mendmg and repairing waggons, by Allen Willis, near the Empire Hotel, 
Auburn. 

Yankee Jims : 

Herrick's Hotel, corner of Main and Spring Streets, Yankee Jims. S. 
Herrick, Proprietor. 

Gardner's Hotel, Main Street, Yankee Jims. N. G. Gardner, A. T. Howes, 
Proprietors. 

Niles' Hotel, Main Street, Yankee Jims. Henry W. Niles, Proprietor. 

Tames S. Folger & Co., Empire Store, Yankee Jims. Dealers in pro- 
visions. Miners' Tools, AYines and Liquors. Goods packed to order. 

Cartwright it Bullard's Bowling Saloon, Main Street, Yankee Jims. 

Bar and Billiard Saloon. By A. J. and J. Bartholomew, on Main 
Street, Yankee Jims. 

Isaac A. Avery, Justice of the Peace. Office on Main Street. Yankee 
Jims. 

Livery Stable. Yankee Jims. Horses to let at all times. Hay and grain 
to sell, also stabling for horses and mules, near to People's Store. J. Gailey 
& Co., Proprietors. 

Stein, Eisner & Co. Dry Goods, clothing, boots and shoes, provisions, 
groceries, liquors, crockery, cigars and all kinds of miners' tools, the largest 
assortment in town. Main St., opposite the Golden Gate, Yankee Jims. 

Ophir : 

J. AY Scobey, Attorney at Law, Main St., one door below Adams & 
Co.'s Office, Ophir. 

W. Hathaway, Watchmaker and Jeweler, Main St., Ophir, one door 
below Adams & Co.'s Express Office. 

R. P. Perry, Merchant, Main Street, Ophir. Keeps constantly mi hand 
a full assortment of cloth'ng, boots and shoes, mining tools, provisions and 
all kinds of goods, cheap for cash. All who wish for bargains call and ex- 
amine. 

The advertisements for Yankee Jims look good and business-like, es- 
pecially the three hotels. But on May 28, 1853. I find that S. C. Astin, 
assignee in Smith Herrick, Insolvent Debtor, is ordered to sell on June 11, 
1853. at public auction, in Yankee Jims, for cash, said Merrick's hotel per- 
sonal property and book accounts. The notice of sale fills nearly a column 
in the Herald. For a village hotel it seems to have been fairly well equipped. 
The following items are listed for sale: 4 double bedsteads, 17 do.. 2 berths 
each, 8 cots, 56 woolen bed blankets, 52 calico quilts, 50 straw pillows. 21 1 
moss pillows, 64 straw beds, 50 pr. sheets. 8 ( » pillow cases, 6 long dining 
tables, 17 doz. knives and forks, a lot of other material, groceries, etc.. in- 
cluding many gallons of wine, brandy, rum. .Madeira, gin. whisky, lemon 
syrup and several dozens of champagne. It is a little suggestive, thai the 
California legislature had recently passed, on May 4. L852, an "Act for tin- 
relief of Insolvent Debtors and protection of Creditor-." It appears to the 



102 • HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

writer, however, that this must have been an honest insolvent proceeding, 
and that the debtor offered all his hotel goods for sale. 

I find also that R. O. Cravens, assignee of creditors, offers for sale, on 
September 5, 1853, the hotel property of H. W. Niles, the rival of Smith 
Herrick in the Yankee Jims hotel business. There was in this case a goodly 
supply of hotel furniture and a long list of accounts. 

Auburn, Yankee Jims and Ophir were then the largest towns in Placer 
County. The Sacramento and Auburn stage lines, carrying United States 
mail and express, passed each of these places by direct routing, and connected 
with other stage lines for up in the mountains. 

I quote some of the express and stage-line advertisements from the third 
page of the Herald of October 23, 1852: 

"Adams & Co.'s Express. To Sacramento, San Francisco and the south- 
ern mines. Will be despatched daily from their Offices at Yankee Jims, 
Auburn, and Ophir, at 6y 2 o'clock a. m. Checks on Adams & Co., at Sacra- 
mento and San Francisco at par. Sight drafts on all the principal cities of 
the United States. Particular attention paid to transportation of Treasure, 
Packages, &c. Collections promptly attended to. Highest price paid for 
Gold Dust. Messengers leave our office weekly for all prominent points on 
the North and Middle forks of the American River. 

"Adams & Co. 

"Auburn, Sept. 11th, 1852." 

"Auburn and Yankee Jims Daily Express Line. The subscriber having 
established stables, both in Auburn and Yankee Jims, are prepared to furnish 
spirited and gentle horses to persons wishing to pass over the road. By 
this conveyance much inconvenience arising from dust is avoided. It is 
also quicker and cheaper and passengers are not compelled to walk up the 
hills. The advantage of this line over the difficult and dangerous transit 
by stage must be apparent to all. 

"This line is connected with Brown' & Parish's mail Line of stages from 
Sacramento city. 

"Agents: Yankee Jims, at Copeland & Co.'s stable, opposite Herrick's 
hotel; Auburn, J. Brown, Jr., Crescent city hotel. Saddle horses to hire in 
both places, on the most reasonable terms. 

"Copeland & Co." 

"United States Mail. Pilot Line. Brown and Parish would respectfully 
inform the public that their regular mail line of stages for Sacramento leaves 
every morning, at 6y 2 o'clock and arrives in Sacramento in time for the San 
Francisco boats. Their office is at the Empire Hotel. Their coaches are 
equal to those of any stage line in the state." 

"Pioneer Line. Splendid Concord Stage Coaches for Sacramento, Yan- 
kee Jims and all intermediate points. Always Ahead ! ! Two Lines leave 
the National Hotel daily for Sacramento and intermediate points — one at 
7 a. m., and the other at 1 p. m. The Yankee Jims stage leaves every day 
at 1 p. m., and arrives at 12 m., touching at all the intermediate points. This 
line will run on Sundays. All expresses are carried on this route. C. Green, 
Proprietor." 

While we are on this third page of the Herald, which contains five 
columns — all solid advertisements — it may be well to copy two legal notices 
as evidence that the young county was progressing nicely, then as now. 

"Notice. It having been recommended by the Grand Jury of the County 
of Placer at the October term, A. D. 1852, that a bridge be built across the 
Auburn ravine, at Ophir, Now, therefore, notice is hereby given that pro- 
posals for the erection of said bridge as per specifications on file in the county 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 103 

clerk's office, will be received by the county clerk until Saturday, the 23rd 
inst., at noon. By order of court. 

"Oct. 11. "H. R. Hawkins, 

"Deputy Clerk." 

"Notice is hereby given that sealed proposals for the erection of a court 
house for the county of Placer, will be received at the county clerk's office 
in Auburn, till the 11th day of November, A. D. 1852. Specifications of the 
work may be seen at the clerk's office. By order of the Court of Sessions. 

"H : ram R. Hawkins, 

"Deputy Clerk." 

The first election for county offices was held on May 26, 1851, and was 
a very spirited one. Auburn, with her outstanding promptness, put up a 
full ticket. Hiram R. Hawkins and H. T. Holmes aided in putting up a 
ticket called the Miners' Ticket at a convention at the Missouri House, a 
few miles below Auburn. This ticket was in fact elected ; but Auburn, with 
her wonderful ability as a vote getter, claimed the election by about four 
hundred majority. A contest was had, and at the hearing before the court 
"The case of Hawkins against Stewart was compromised, Hawkins assum- 
ing control of the county clerk's office, and acting in that capacity, with the 
consent and concurrence of James T. Stewart, and having full management 
of its business." See H. T. Holmes' statement, appearing hereafter. It ap- 
pears that Stewart was the nominal county clerk. He appointed Hawkins 
as his deputy, but Hawkins assumed full control of the office, was its re- 
sponsible head, and drew all the salary. 

The notice of this first election of county officers was given by posting 
up written notices of election. There was no newspaper in Placer County at 
that time. The Weekly Placer Herald, the first newspaper in the county, 
issued its first number on Saturday, September 11, 1852. 

Advertised Letters 

In the Weekly Placer Herald, Vol. I. No. 7, the issue of Saturday, Octo- 
ber 23, 1852, appears a list of letters remaining in the post office at Auburn. 
as of that date. The list begins : 

"A. 

adams chas m 2 

alien isaac b 

alien jim p 

anderson chas m 2" 
and continues through the alphabet, a double column of names, with from 
one to four unclaimed letters credited to many of the names. The length 
of the full double column is 16% inches, and there is nearly one-fourth a 
column more. The list is signed, "Wm. Gwynn, post Master." From the 
typography of the list, one may safely infer that capital letters were scarce 
in the type cases of the Placer Herald. 

On December 4 of the same year, another list of two double columns of 
unclaimed letters is published. This list starts with F-G, and II follows 
on the next page ; H is finished with small letters in place of capitals. On 
the last page I find A, B, C, D and E, also with small letters used at tin- 
end of the lists. 

In the issue of December 11, 1852. apparently the lists arc continued 
on the third page. I find over one double column, ending with "Zoveriage 
Orange M. Zown John M.," the small letters again helping out. This list is 



104 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

also signed, "Wm. Gwynn P. M." ; and a notice is added : "Next week we 
shall publish a letter list from the Express Office of Wells, Fargo & Co., at 
Yankee Jims." 

There seems to have been trouble in printing the list of December 4 ; 
for on the last page of the issue of December 111 find a continuation with 
the letters I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, and R, all the names being capitalized, 
except most of those beginning with M, which were set with small initials. 
The list for December 4 aggregated nearly four and three-quarters double 
columns of delinquent names, and part of these were credited with several 
letters each. 

But now for the express office list at Yankee Jims. It appears on the 
last page of the issue of February 12, 1853, and occupies nearly a full double 
column, over the names of Mason & McCombs as agents. There is also 
a small express letter list from Newcastle. In the issue of February 5, 1853, 
we find a half-column double-space list of express letters from Ophir, and 
nearly a full column from the Auburn office. So Yankee Jims, Auburn, 
Ophir and Newcastle all had Wells, Fargo & Company express offices which 
advertised letters not called for. 

The Auburn post office was still a busy place. The list of February 
12, starting in the issue of that date and finishing on February 19, 1853, 
contained over three double-space columns. On February 20 there were 
one and three-fourths columns of double-space lists published, and on March 
5 the same. Three double-space columns, with all names capitalized, appear 
:'n the issue of April 30, 1853. 

In the Placer Press of July 7, 1855, we find a list of names to whom 
letters are addressed at the post office at Rattlesnake for the quarter ending 
June 30, 1855. There are eighty names on the list, including one married 
woman, by name Mrs. W. C. McEellarcd ; many have two letters, two have 
three each, and J. S. Palmer has six. 

The town of Rattlesnake will be described elsewhere. At the present 
time it would be difficult to have the actual site of the town pointed out, 
though perhaps Mr. Edward Silva might do so, he having been born there. 
It has now disappeared, though hardly more completely than many another 
of the once lively mining camps. It is interesting but sad to hunt for the 
sites of old mining towns, once full of life and business — places that in their 
halcyon days sheltered citizens of wealth, influence and character, men 
who wielded commanding influence in the business, politics and social in- 
terests of their county, and yet whose home towns are only names today, 
insomuch that the present generation cannot agree as to their location. 
Perhaps an old graveyard may aid in the search, the meeting of two creeks 
or ravines may fix the spot, the crossing of two prominent roads may recall 
the place, while the cellars, foundations and corner-stones of old stores and 
business houses are surer signs ; but the pulsing hearts and eager hands of 
the earnest men and women are stilled forever. The few headstones in the 
near-by cemetery speak of other days. 

Experiences of a Freighter on the Forest Hill Divide 

In the following letter, the writer, George W. Stone, gives an account 
of delivering what is said to be the first load of heavy mining machinery 
taken on to the Forest Hill Divide. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 105 

"Chicago. July 28, 1911. 
"Mrs. Chas. Robinson, 

"East Auburn, Cal. 

"Dear- Sister : On receiving your letter saying that you had located at 
Auburn, California, it brought to my mind the beautiful sloping hillsides in 
that vicinity and my experiences along the road from Sacramento to the 
mining camps as an ox-teamster. As you know my first business in Cali- 
fornia was mining about Grass Valley; that was in the fall of 1853, and until 
the spring of 1855, when I returned to the States, I followed freighting with 
ox teams, getting my freight from Sacramento, and my destination often 
brought me through Auburn. 

"On one occasion, I remember, July 2nd, 1854, I found myself, two 
other men, ten yoke of cattle, two wagons, machinery on one, camped on 
the top of the hill near the road that led to the bridge crossing the North 
Fork of the American River ; our loads were destined to Iowa Hill. The 
road to the bridge was a narrow grade winding around the mountain side, of 
curves so short that I had great fears that the top-heavy load might be 
upset, and if upset it was. no power on earth would stop the big boiler until 
it lodged in the river below. However, early next morning found us ready 
to make the trial with one yoke of cattle in front of the wagon ; and four yoke 
chained to the rear. We proceeded foot by foot, and reached the bridge 
safely about noon, with our troublesome loads. 

"A hasty lunch on the other side, and the $7.50 bridge fee pa : d, we 
tackled the job of climbing the mountain (Green Point). By putting the 
yokes of cattle to one wagon, we slowly accomplished the feat long after 
dark, and camped on the road which ran along the crest of the mountain, 
turned our cattle out to browse, ate our supper of bacon, bread, and coffee: 
with blanket spread on the ground and boots for a pillow, we slept until the 
sun of Jul)- 4th came in upon us from the eastern horizon. 

"From where we were camped we could see down the steep mountain- 
side into the river. A few miners' cabins were scattered along the bank, 
and we could see men seeming shouting and shooting, evidently intended as 
a welcome to the glorious Independence Day. We could see the puff of 
smoke from their guns and hear a distant indistinct report ; all this reminded 
me that away in the East, in my New England home, all was alive with 
patriotic rejoicing. The anvils and other improvised cannon had been brought 
into action. The never-to-be-forgotten liberty pole had been raised, the oft- 
repeated Declaration of Independence was perhaps just then being read by 
the most favored lady of the town, and speeches of patriotic eloquence rising 
from every hamlet toward the stars were blending in one common chorus 
of rejoicing. 

"As I looked to the east and imagined all this, and remembered my first 
outing on the 4th of July on. Boston Common and my first greatly appre- 
ciated privilege of shooting firecrackers and carrying flags upon the street; 
I say when I thought of these enjoyments that I had left behind, to lift and 
tug at heavy loads, to trudge along the dusty road, to sleep alone upon the 
stony ground, three thousand miles from friends and all that cared for me. 
for the first time my heart gave way, and had 1 wings, not oxen nor mer- 
chandise, nor thought of gain would have kept me from crossing the conti- 
nent to the Eastern shore. 

"Fortunately 1 had no wings, and my man. Benson by name, another 
Yankee, and a practical, good fellow, broke my revery by calling me to 
breakfast, and jokingly suggested that I was no doubt thinking of my best 
girl away off in the East. 

"Our next camping place on this trip was in the woods about a mile 
from an inn or tavern (The United States Ranch), the one where an aston- 
ished irishman and his wife discovered water coming out of an oak tree. 



106 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

"Another amusing incident happened at that camp. We had loosened 
our cattle (near the present site of the Carlson ranch) ; and with us three 
bundled in one blanket, we were soon quite sleepy. The topic of conversa- 
tion at our evening meal had been grizzly bears, as at that time there were 
plenty about there and we had seen along the road traps built to catch them. 
About the middle of the night I felt a sharp bump in my ribs and a whisper : 
'Stone, Stone, listen!' Benson was awake and scared; I did listen and heard 
the faint cracking of dry limbs a little way from camp. I managed to quiet 
him by the suggestion that it was only the cattle ; and I was again asleep 
when — bang ! again to my ribs. By this time all three of us were wide awake, 
and the other two were so confident that the bears were after them that they 
bundled themselves together and ran down the road toward the team as 
fast as their legs could carry them, only to return when breakfast was ready, 
surprised no doubt to find me safe and whole, instead of torn in fragments 
by the bears. 

"Soon after leaving camp we left the traveled road and followed a trail 
where no loaded team had ever passed ; by dint of hard work for oxen and 
men, we reached our destination that evening, discharged our load and 
returned to Sacramento the way we came. The trip occupied nearly two 
weeks' time. 

"This is a sample of the trials of a freighter, and of the efforts and 
struggles of the early settlers of California. At this time there were only 
two or three houses between Sacramento and Auburn, and we had to ford 
the American at the city. The valley and foothills were well covered with 
grass, but without rainfall no one could imagine that the country would 
be suitable for settlement or cultivation ; but I fancy that if I could look 
upon it now, I should wonder at its development. I should be glad if I 
could see that country once more, but I fear I never can. While my stay 
there was wrought with many privations and hardships, I feel a gratifica- 
tion in knowing that I had some little hand in building the great and beau- 
tiful State of California. 

"Sincerely your brother, 

"Geo. W. Stone." 

JAMES FRENCH 

Miss Albertina Amelia French has furnished the writer with facts and 
data, taken evidently from a diary or family papers, regarding the life and 
activities of her father, James French, a retired farmer, who died in 1922. 
Miss French is writing a history of the life of her father, which will, no 
doubt, be of much value and future interest. The following is taken from 
her advance rough notes of his very active life down in the southwest corner 
of Placer County. 

"James French was born at Hillsdale, Michigan, July 6, 1834. His par- 
ents came from Leicestershire, England, in 1828. He was of a family of 
fourteen children. At the age of thirteen years he was bound out by his 
parents to a neighbor by the name of Hezekiah Morris, to remain with him 
until he was twenty-one years of age. At that time he was to be given 160 
acres of land, a yoke of oxen, and a cow. Land then had a value of only 
$1.25 an acre. 

"Mr. Morris, getting the gold fever, got the consent of his parents to let 
him go to California ; so by uniting with other neighbors, they composed a 
train of twenty-two schooners, 100 head of oxen, mules and cows, with Mr. 
Morris as captain of sixty-three people. They were named the Wolverines. 
At the Missouri River they were joined by a company of twenty-three peo- 
ple, called the Sacker Boys, from Missouri. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 107 

"Their way was beset with hostile Indians from the time they left Port 
Laramie until they crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and they had 
many sk : rmishes. They were six months making the trip, following the 
most northern trail taken by any party up to that time. The buffalo and elk 
were traveling north, thus providing them with fresh meat. They could 
stand in one place on the Platte River and see three and four thousand. 
Thev often saw, when companies preceding them found themselves too 
heavily loaded and had to take off provisions, flour and bacon stacked like 
cords of wood. 

"They crossed the Missouri River at St. Joe on a ferry steamer: then 
proceeded up the South. Platte to the North Platte, which they crossed by 
fording; then across the Laramie Plains to Fort Laramie. They crossed the 
Green River by putting the wagons and stock on the schooners, with their 
bottoms and ends built boat shape, and swimming the stock hitched to them. 

"They then drove sixty miles north of Salt Lake to the headwaters of 
the Humboldt River, then into Lassen County and Honey Lake. Thev were 
deceived by signs that Mr. Lassen had placed on the trail to get the emi- 
grants to come the northern route, at the headwaters of Humboldt River, 
so the emigrants would patronize his store. It proved to be 300 miles farther 
and eighty miles more desert, with no water. They suffered great hardships, 
losing about half of their stock. They became very angry, and threatened 
Lassen's life, should they ever get hold of him. The only Indians who showed 
signs of friendliness were the Sioux and Pawnees, where they crossed into 
Lassen County. The Pitt River Indians followed them for some distance. 

"As they drove into the Sacramento 'Valley, at Red Bluff and Chico, 
they were impressed by the immense herds of antelope and elk and the won- 
derful green pastures. At the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains the roads 
were so steep and rough they had to let the schooners and wagons down by 
ropes hitched to trees. 

"Upon reaching Feather River they wintered at Long Bar, on the south 
side of Feather River, where lots of miners were mining. It was a very wet 
winter and they again suffered hardships, as it had been a very expensive 
tr : p and they did not have much in the way of food, clothing or shelter. 
They took their stock back to pasture at the Sam Neil grant, where he took 
in stock for pasture, they being herded by Indians. Almost all the grants 
kept tribes of Indians who worked for a little clothing and some food. It 
being such a wet winter, provisions or grub had to be carried on foot from 
Marysville. flour selling as high as $100 for a fifty-pound' sack, and every- 
thing else at the rate of $1 a pound. As soon as the ground was dry enough, 
James French hauled supplies to the miners at Long Bar and String Town, 
where Mr. Morris and Bellefield built a hotel and store. 

"in 1851 he came into Placer Count}' and did his first mining at Garden 
Bar, on Bear River, for about two years. He was then employed by Cox 
and Quinn to do range riding after their stock, they having as high as 700 
head of cattle and about a hundred head of horses. 

"After learning something of the stock business, he settled on land on 
Coon Creek in 1856, raising all kinds of stock and garden truck, which he 
sold to the miners and hauled to Grass Valley and Nevada City. 

"In 1863 he went to Victoria, British Columbia; Dalles, Oregon; Elk 
City. Florence River, Salmon River, Idaho; and Butte City, Montana, to 
new diggings and on a sight-seeing trip. 

"In 1864 he went back to his place of birth in Michigan i Panama route), 
and spent the winter, leasing Nick Mack in charge of his ranch. In the 
spring he married Ellen Tiffany Van Wert. They went n> New York, where 
they spent several weeks, then sailed on a boat to Greytown, l>y the Nicaragua 
route. It took fourteen days to cross, The San Juan River was then 
very low; the men passengers walked most of the way. A Mr. John Hughes, 



108 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

a blacksmith by trade who later settled at White Pine, Eldorado County, 
and James French paid the natives to push the boat along. As they passed 
the sand-bars they saw alligators lying on their backs in the sun, catching 
flies. It was a great treat to have the tropical fruits to eat. They rode on 
a steamer across Lake Nicaragua seventy-five miles. They had twelve 
miles of land over which they could either ride a Spanish bronco or ride 
in a Spanish coach. The animals were cared for by lazy Spaniards, and 
were in such weakened condition that the party came most of the way on 
foot, making the trip in a day's* time. 

"They passed close to a fort built by Spaniards which held about 
twelve or fifteen guns. Guards were on duty watching it. About six months 
prior Bill Walker, leader of the Fillibuster Gang, had slipped into the fort 
and spiked their guns. They sailed from Acapulco to San Francisco, ar- 
riving again at a new home he had built before going to Michigan. 

"In 1866 his first child and oldest son was born. In 1868 his wife and 
son returned to Michigan for a year's visit, over the Panama route. In 
1869 he sold his home and land to a mining company and disposed of his 
cattle to various stockmen. His horses, consisting of about fifty head, 
he drove to Austin, Nevada, where he sold them at public auction ; then, 
leading one horse with a pack of provisions and a rifle, he rode another 
to Cheyenne, Wyoming, the railroad being completed west only that far. 
There were four horseback men in the party. They made only about thirty 
miles a day. From Salt Lake to Cheyenne they met several trains of 
emigrants. They saw several bands of cattle being driven ahead to be 
sold to the railroad company while building the road. When he reached 
Cheyenne, he sold both horses and saddle, and went by railroad to Hills- 
dale, Michigan, where he joined his wife and son, and returned to Cali- 
fornia over the Panama route. 

"Then by buying possessory rights of land from Andy Kimmery, joining 
the lands he first settled on, and also filing a homestead and timber claim, he 
accumulated a tract of 2975 acres, where he continued in the stock business 
and farming. 

"He was associated in the stock business with Mark Hopkins, they 
having land joining, of possessory title. They ran their stock together with 
Mose Hopkins, a brother, to help look after their share. When Mark Hop- 
kins came to visit his range, he would come in a special car to Sheridan, 
and was driven out by Rodgers' livery, and would be entertained at James 
French's home. It was while he was building the railroad, and he often 
said it was a great relief to get away from business. Mose Hopkins was 
a great lover of fancy horses. James French later bought his title, also his 
title to summer ranges at Soda Springs." 

Experiences with Indians 

"While crossing the plains, when they camped for the night they would 
form in a circle, with the stock inside, to protect them from the Indians. Two 
men would stand guard until midnight ; then two would relieve them until 
daylight. 

"One evening, on the Platte River, twenty miles west of Fort Laramie, 
James French and a boy about his age, by the name of Chillis Underwood, 
drove the stock about a mile to water, and as they were coming back In- 
dians on foot jumped up from behind low willows, ran out and threw up 
their red blankets and skins to frighten the stock so they would stampede, 
which they did. They had gotten a little too far through the willows, or 
past the Indians; so they broke for the camp instead, with the two boys 
following on their mules, nearly frightened to death. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 109 

"In the spring- of 1851 James French and Chillis Underwood were sent hy 
Mr. Morris to Marysville to get a load of supplies for miners at String Town. 
They had two yoke of oxen and a span of mules. On their way back they 
camped for the night about ten miles from String Town. They slept in 
the wagon and chained the oxen to the wheels, as Mr. Morris had instructed 
them. In the morning they saw where the Indians had walked around the 
wagon and oxen so many times they had worn a path, fearing to go up and 
drop the chains. Not thinking much of this, they let the chains down so 
the oxen could go down to the meadow and feed before breakfast. No 
sooner had they reached the meadow than the Indians, lying in wait, jumped 
up from behind a bluff and frightened them so they broke, going in oppo- 
site ways. James French jumped on a mule and overtook one yoke of 
oxen, which he brought back to camp. He then followed the other yoke three 
miles, turning back only when he feared for safety. 

"In 1856, shortly after he settled on land on Coon Creek, he was busy 
one afternoon hoeing, in his garden, the vegetables from which he sold in 
Grass Valley and Nevada City, when he happened to notice a big, tall, 
strapping Indian with a gun on his shoulder down near the cabin door. He 
was peering all around and listening to see or hear if anyone was home. He 
watched him getting nearer and nearer the door, and knowing that his pro- 
visions that he had only recently hauled from Sacramento had cost him a 
great deal, besides going so far to get them, he slipped down on the opposite 
side of the house and went right in on the Indian, taking him by such a 
quick surprise he could not raise his gun. James French grabbed that first, 
the Indian hung on. and it was only after a- hard struggle that he got it from 
him. The Indian gave one of his cries and put up his hands, but James 
French quickly stepped to the door, shot off the loads, then gave the Indian 
some stiff blows from the barrel of the gun across his body, and handed it 
back to him, also giving him some stiff kicks from the toe of his boots as he 
went out of the door. He was never bothered again after that. 

"The home which James French prepared for his br : de on his return 
from Michigan was a hard-finished house, and was considered a fine home 
in those days. Soon after he had it completed he gave a bachelors' part}-. 
Friends came from long distances in full dress. Dark's Orchestra of Auburn 
furnished the music, Jim Dark playing first violin and Hi Francis second 
violin. No one could ever surpass Jim Dark playing or calling square dances. 
Miss Mary Burdge (now Mrs. Mary Sanders) attended with her fiance, Kit 
Sanders. Her sister Mattie (now deceased) accompanied James French. 
They then lived with their parents at New Town. Miss Mary Burdge was 
alwavs considered the most beautful belle of all the balls. She dressed in 
the usual soft, flowing, long, full-skirt lace mantilla, and always carried a fan. 
Her coiffure was of curls and fancy ornaments. Her graceful dancing was 
always commented on by the bachelors. 

"The supper was prepared by a chef from Nigger Bar, Bear River, French 
furnishing the meats and chickens from his flock. He had ordered a mam- 
moth fruit cake baked in Sacramento. It failing to arrive on the stage. In- 
sent a man in a horse and buggy to get it. The Indians, by that time hav- 
ing had more dealings with the white men, heard of the dance, came, and 
camped for the night under the shrubbery and vines near by, waiting to gel 
the remnants of the feast the next morning. 

"On the land which he afterwards acquired, he often visited the mounds 
where the Indians would lie holding their pow-wows or dances. It nol I" 
ing safe to be close, he sat on horseback at a distance. He also saw them 
hurtling their dead, killing or burning their horses, or anything that belonged 
to them. 



110 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

"James French helped with other miners and Colonel Jefferson to hang 
an Indian at McCourtney Crossing. He and another Indian had killed two 
Chinamen on Three Island, Bear River. They had burned the bodies of 
the Chinese, all except their feet, which the miners found sticking in the 
sand. He was pointed out by a miner who had seen him in that section the 
day before. The other Indian got away. He was about twenty years of 
age. The only resistance he made was by saying: 'You no hang me for 
killing a Chinaman?' 

"He also helped to hang an Indian on the Cox & Quinn Ranch, who 
killed a white man. He attended the lynching of a Spaniard at Camp Sacho, 
who had robbed some miners." 

Gardening in 1858 

"In 1858 he hauled his vegetables to market at Grass Valley and Nevada 
City, clearing as high as $100 for a two-horse load, corn selling at $3 a 
dozen, tomatoes $1 a pound, watermelons $5 apiece, and all other varieties 
selling at $1 a pound. He grew his tomato plants in hot beds, and they 
were ready for market by the 1st of July. While on these trips he met and 
became acquainted with Mr. Miller, of Rattlesnake Bridge, he having the 
only fruit, berries and grapes that were brought into> the market. 

"There were lots of deer, antelope, elk, geese, and duck ; and fish were 
found in all streams." 

A Pet Mule 

"When James French came into Placer County in the spring of 1850, 
he was riding a mule which represented three years of servitude with Mr. 
Morris, who having failed in business with a man by the name of Bellefield, 
whom he met crossing the plains, they grubstaked miners on the Yuba River. 
The partner, Bellefield, deceived Morris and absconded with a great share 
of his money. About the only property that he had left was the mule which 
he brought across the plains, and this, he gave to James French. It was 
mouse-colored, with a black stripe down its back. 

"That spring two men by the names of Colonel Jefferson and Bijou 
Bigelow left claims on Garden Bar and came to String Town, having heard 
of richer diggings, which did not prove to be what they expected ; so they 
came back, bringing James French with them. He being a boy of sixteen 
years, they made him a small rocker and showed him how to mine ; and 
in a short time he could make as much as they. Several of the miners used 
what is called a "long-torn" to mine with. They carried their coarse gold 
or nuggets in long buckskin purses. 

"In the spring of 1853 he rode his mule down to Camp Sacho, Calaveras 
County, there being an excitement of new diggings. While mining there, 
he put the mule in pasture that he rented. It was taken from the pasture by 
freight haulers who claimed it and refused to give it up. They told him that 
he would have to prove that it was his. Having heard that Mr. Morris, of 
whom he got it, had moved to Napa, he walked from Camp Sacho to Stock- 
ton, going on boat from there to Benicia, then walking from there to Napa 
through bands of Spanish cattle, only to find that Mr. Morris had passed 
away a year before ; so he had to walk back through the cattle, which were 
very treacherous. 

"When he reached Camp Sacho, he consulted a lawyer, who advised him 
that it was best to let it go, as it would cost too much expense of miners 
from Placer County as witnesses that he had, saying that he believed the 
case was as he had stated, but that he was only a boy, and they were taking 
advantage of him. So he had to walk back to Garden Bar, Placer County. 
It was a hard task to part with the mule. He went down to the pasture to 
pet it, and it followed him to the gate, which almost brought tears to his eyes." 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 111 

Notes on Towns, Cattle Ranges, and Grants 

"The first house in Sheridan was what was called "Rodgers Shed," built 
by a man of that name. It was a stopping place for stages and coaches and 
freight teams. A large flour-mill was built near the railroad when it was 
first put through. At the time the mill was running, it was a very flourish- 
ing town, supporting two hotels, two blacksmith shops, one drug store, a 
clothing store, two grocery stores, skating rink, two livery stables and a 
large depot. The ravages of three fires left only a few buildings. 

"The first house in Lincoln was moved down from Gold Hill by a woman 
by the name of Jane Mason. A man by the name of Wilson built the first 
railroad (narrow-gauge) up as far as Reed's Station, it coming from Folsom. 
It was afterwards sold to the Central Pacific and changed to a broad-gauge. 
\Ya!kup & Wyman owned the first grocery and merchandise store. They 
were also stockmen. Pete Ahart had lots of stock around and near Lincoln. 

"Daneville was a mining camp and got its name by reason of the fact 
that several Danish families settled there. It had two stores and two 
saloons at one time. 

"The Cox & Quinn ranch was located on section 12, township 13 north, 
range 6 east. 

"Cheney Glode, a Frenchman, had a grant adjoining Cox & Quinn on the 
northwest, on which he ran horses and cattle (Spanish). 

"The Johnson Crossing was west of the Glode grant on Bear River. 

"Mark and Mose Hopkins, the former one of the builders of the Southern 
Pacific Railroad, had ranges in section 8. township 12 north, range 6 east, on 
which they ran horses and cattle. Mark Hopkins was a great lover of horses. 
They also had a grant or ranch close to Nicolaus. 

"Camp Far West was on Bear River, betw r een Johnson's Crossing and 
McCourtney Crossing. Soldiers were stationed there. 

"A large wire suspension-bridge, built in 1862 by a man named Rush, 
crossed Bear River one-half mile below McCourtney Crossing. In 1852 or 
1853 James French hauled logs with oxen to help build a sawmill half a mile 
below the suspension-bridge. The mill was built by a man by the name of 
Van Court. This sawmill was later turned into a flour-mill and run by 
men by the names of J. L. McDonald and Joe Stottard. The suspension- 
bridge later collapsed with a band of sheep crossing it. 

"Once a year a round-up or rodeo was held at different places, taking 
about six weeks to make the drive. Every one attended the round-up who 
had a brand and ear-mark, and took their stock home. There were bull- 
fights by Spaniards who made a business of going from place to place for 
that purpose. 

"Race tracks were built at Sheridan, Lincoln and Hungry Hollow, where 
races were held Sundays. 

"James French was in Sacramento when the first material fur the rail- 
road to Folsom was unloaded. He also saw the smoke of the fire in Sacra- 
mento in 1854." 

HENRY THOMAS HOLMES 

The reminiscences of Henry Thomas Holmes give much information 
regarding the early history of Auburn and Placer County, particularly re- 
garding the industrial development in Auburn and its vicinity. We quote 
here from his statement of his recollections. 

"I was born in Lansingburg, Rensselaer County. Xew York, February 
28, 1829. My father's name was Gershom F. Holmes, who married Lavina 
Bornt, my mother, who is still living at tin- age of eighty-eight. I received 
the advantages of the village school until I was fourteen years old. when I 



112 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

entered a store as clerk, and began life for myself. For six years I continued 
to struggle with average success until I started for California in January, 
1849, via Cape Horn, on the ship Tahmaroo, in company with Hiram R. 
Hawkins. (Hawkins, after reaching California, was editor of a number of 
newspapers, and afterwards went to Gold Hill, Nevada, where he also edited 
journals ; and Senator Stewart attributed his success to Hawkins' writings. 
Hawkins was later appointed consul to Tumbez, Peru, by President Lincoln, 
and remained there until his death.) 

"We arrived at San Francisco July 1, 1849, remained there a few days, 
and then took passage on a schooner for Sacramento, paying $16 deck pass- 
age to that place, and arriving there after two or three days' sailing. After 
a few days in Sacramento, we hired an ox-team to take us to the North Fork 
of the American River, thirty-five miles above Sacramento, and on our way 
passed through the present town of Auburn, then called Wood's Dry Dig- 
gings. Hawkins and myself, in company with others, mined on the North 
Fork of the American River until the fall of 1849, then started back to San 
Francisco, on account of the wet weather, and there took passage to the 
Sandwich Islands, where we remained during the winter. Returning to 
California, we went back to the mines and opened a trading post near Mis- 
souri Bar ; then located the Long Valley House, about two miles below 
Auburn. A few months after, the question of the division of what was 
then Sutter County having been advanced, commissioners were appointed, 
who, I think, were Joseph Walkup (afterwards Lieutenant-Governor of Cali- 
fornia), William Gwynn, and some others. The division was made and the 
new county was called Placer County. 

"An election for officers of the new county was called. The citizens of 
Auburn made up a ticket, selecting candidates for all the county officers from 
the Auburn precinct. Hawkins and myself, conceiving this to be wrong, 
immediately posted notices in writing (as there was no newspaper published 
in the county at that time) in every mining camp of any importance, in- 
cluding Auburn, calling a miners' convention at the Missouri House, some 
six or eight miles below Auburn, to select candidates for the different county 
offices which were to be filled by the election, the first ever held in Placer 
County. That convention was held at the Missouri House and very largely 
attended. We selected a ticket, which I think in the election that followed 
was carried by a very large majority ; but the Auburn candidates brought in 
fraudulent returns purporting to show something over 200 majority in Long 
Canyon District and about the same in Mad Canyon District. We immedi- 
ately set to work to contest that election. My partner, Hawkins, was run- 
ning on the miners' ticket for county clerk against Stewart on the Auburn 
ticket. I interested myself in contesting the election in favor of Abraham 
Bronk, who was running on the miners' ticket for county treasurer. Hugh 
Fitzsimmons ran upon the Auburn ticket for county judge against Daven- 
port on the miners' ticket. On the day the case came up the man who had 
run for county treasurer against Bronk died, and the court appointed Bronk 
to fill the office. The case of Hawkins against Stewart was compromised, 
Hawkins assuming control of the county clerk's office and acting in that 
capacity with the consent and concurrence of Stewart, and having full man- 
agement of the business. The case of Davenport against Fitzsimmons was 
never contested by Davenport or any one to represent him. Samuel Astin 
was elected sheriff (afterwards was with Walker in Nicaragua) on the 
miners' ticket. These were the first officers of Placer County. Astin ap- 
pointed me (H. T. Holmes) deputy sheriff, which office I held until the next 
spring, when I paid a visit to my home in New York. On my return Mr. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 113 

Astin was anxious for mo to take the position again, hut I declined, being 
in ill health. 

"This was in 1852, and I then received a proposition from Mr. [no. R. 
Gwvnn to take charge of the post office, which I accepted and carried on in 
connection with a small retail store for the sale of stationery, books, cigars, 
etc., in consideration of my services receiving one-half the profits on the 
goods sold, the other half going to Mr. Gwynn. I continued in this business 
for some time and made considerable money, something over $200 per month 
for each of us. I invested what money I made in lands and village lots in 
the town and erected improvements thereon. 

"After remaining in this business for one year, Mr. John R. Gwynn's 
business in his general store became so great that he called upon me to 
help him in his store, which I did, giving up the post office and associated 
business. Shortly after, I was married to Air. Gwynn's daughter, Laura 
Virginia. Mr. Gwynn now proposed to me to sell out his business and 
property at Auburn in Placer County, and take in exchange some property 
I had at Millertown, together with what money I had earned and certain 
obligations which I had entered into and carried out to the satisfaction of 
Mr. Gwynn and myself. I then continued in business at Auburn on my own 
account, sending to the Atlantic States for my brother, Gershom F. Holmes, 
who came to assist me in my business. I remained in Auburn until the year 
1857; and being then about to leave for Sacramento, I gave one-half interest 
in mv general store business to my brother, the firm name becoming H. T. 
& G.'F. Holmes, at Auburn." 

Business Operations While in Auburn 

"I will now relate some of my business operations while in Auburn, 
which turned out to my advantage from a money point of view. One of the 
first, and while I was in the post office, was . . . the Alta California Tel- 
egraph Company. 

"Mr. I. E. Strong had just arrived from the East, a telegraph operator 
and builder, who had suggested the idea of building a telegraph line in Cali- 
fornia, but received no encouragement either at San Francisco or Sacra- 
mento. He came to Auburn and I made his acquaintance, and after talking 
over his ideas we concluded to try and see what could be done. We called a 
meeting of the citizens, miners and merchants. The plan took; we organized 
a company called the Alta Cailfornia Telegraph Company, obtaining suffi- 
cient subscriptions to organize, and elected J. R. Gwynn president, H. T. 
Holmes, secretary, with other directors, and Air. Strong as manager and 
superintendent in general, with power to let the contract to build a line from 
Auburn to Grass Valley and Nevada. Air. William Gwynn and myself took 
the contract and built the telegraph line to these places within the specified 
time, and made considerable money out of it. This was the first telegraph 
line built in California. When it was finished and in operation, the company 
concluded to extend it to Sacramento, by way of Coloma and other points 
en route. They advertised for bids for the construction of this line, and Air. 
William Gwynn received the contract and built the line to Sacramento. 
Shortly after this enterprise was completed and found out to be a success, 
another company built a line from San Francisco to Sacramento. All of these 
lines were afterwards transferred to and merged in the Western Union Tele- 
graph Company, in this State. 

"At this time Auburn was built up with nothing but w len buildings, 

and the water supply was so small that nothing could stop the ravages of lire, 
it once started. 1 conceived the idea to Start the burning of brick, and estab- 
lished a brick-yard between Auburn and Millertown, and had just got a kiln 
"i bricks burnt when the fire did come and destroyed the whole town of 



'114 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Auburn. My loss was quite heavy, as there was no insurance company in 
California at that time, and no one had any insurance on his property. My 
brick, therefore, came in good time. 

"About this time the supervisors of the new county of Placer advertised 
for plans and specifications for a new county jail. I concluded to submit a 
plan, prepared one, which was accepted by the supervisors as the best sub- 
mitted, and they then advertised for its construction according to the plan I 
had sent in. I entered into an agreement with Murphy & McGinly to put in 
a bid with myself for the erection of this jail. Ours was the lowest bid and 
was accepted. We immediately began work, and I had full charge of the 
construction until the building was completed, which still stands to this day 
upon the same ground. Its construction left us a good margin of profit. I 
also erected two large stone buildings for stores, also a large brick building 
for a store, in Auburn, these buildings also remaining intact to the present 
time. The brick building mentioned is now owned by Mr. John Worsley 
partly, and partly by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the upper story 
having been sold by myself to the order some time before I sold the lower 
stories to Mr. Worsley. I do not know of another building in this State 
where the upper story is sold to one party and the lower to another. 

"I continued in the general merchandise business in Auburn all the time, 
and ran the Auburn Lime Kiln, about one mile above Auburn, supplying 
lime to Grass Valley, Nevada, Marysville and Sacramento. The demand for 
lime at Sacramento became so large I concluded to start the business at 
Sacramento City, and I made arrangements and preparations to go there 
myself and work up the lime business, as the agent that I had at Sacramento 
did not meet my approval. So about the year 1857 I left Auburn for Sacra- 
mento, leaving my brother, Gershom F. Holmes, in charge of the property 
at Auburn and in Placer County. I proceeded to Sacramento and established 
the lime business on Sixth Street between I and J Streets, and continued in 
that business for about eight years, or until May, 1865. During that time I 
erected the brick warehouse on Sixth Street, between K and L, afterwards 
sold to the Masonic Hall Association." 

The Lime Industry in Placer County 

About the year 1853 John R. Gwynn discovered a ledge of lime rock about 
one mile above the town of Auburn, on the Auburn Ravine, and commenced 
the erection of a lime kiln, which he put into successful operation, producing 
a large quantity of lime. This lime was sent to Grass Valley, Nevada, Marys- 
ville and other points in the northern part of the State, and all the brick 
and stone buildings in that section were supplied with lime produced by J. R. 
and William Gwynn until about 1853 or 1854, when the business and works 
were transferred to H. T. Holmes. From that time on, for thirty years or 
more, seven-eighths of all the lime furnished for the erection of all the brick 
and stone buildings in the northern part of the State was supplied by the 
above-mentioned ledge, managed or controlled by Mr. Holmes. 

In Sacramento, Mr. Holmes took the contract to furnish the lime for 
the State Capitol Building, and supplied all the lime that was required to 
complete the same, as well as other buildings in Sacramento. There was 
some lime burnt at the time in Eldorado County, but three-fourths of all the 
lime used in Sacramento was furnished by Mr. Holmes. 

About the year 1854 Mr. Holmes opened a quarry of lime rock at a 
place known as Clipper Gap, about six miles north of Auburn, in Placer 
County, and erected a lime kiln there. He afterwards opened another plant 
with kiln and works, about seven miles north of Auburn on the line of the 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 115 

Central Pacific Railroad at a place known as Applegate. The demand for 
lime increased, and he found it necessary to locate in such manner as to 
supply it conveniently. At this time he was furnishing all the northern part 
of the State and the State of Nevada, which was buying- large quantities. 

From the foregoing it will be seen how important is the part taken by 
Henry Thomas Holmes in the industrial development of Central California. 
A man of great intellectual activity and of restless energy and unconquerable 
perseverance, but a few months after arriving in the State he took part in the 
formation of the County of Placer. Later he was the first to give encourage- 
ment to the project of building a telegraph line in the State and to organize 
a company and erect wires. He established the first brick-yard and erected 
large stone and brick buildings in the city of Auburn, where he also con- 
structed, according to his own plans, the county jail of Placer County, a 
most substantial building. 

Ali in all. Mr. Holmes must be rated as one in a thousand, nay. ten 
thousand, of those who came through the boiling and seething cauldron of 
California's early days and steadily and persistently added to her greatness 
in multifarious and essential ways, a man to be honored and revered by 
posterity, respected and admired by his contemporaries. His deeds of public 
use and benefit will live after him in the annals of the Pacific Coast, and 
reflect an added glory with the lapse of time. 

Central Pacific Railroad 

The important data given by Mr. Holmes regarding the early struggles of 
the Central Pacific Railroad must not be overlooked, wherein, incidentally, 
he is shown to have been one of the first to extend a helping hand to that great 
undertaking at a time when its most enthusiastic advocates held no greater 
interest than he did. YVe quote further from his recollections. 

"While I was residing in Sacramento, the proposition of the engineer, 
Mr. Judah, to construct the Central Pacific Railroad was brought forward, 
and 1 was one of the parties who subscribed for the original stock of the 
company, holding five shares; and I do not think at that time Stanford or 
Crocker held any more. Judah proceeded with the preliminary survey. The 
company was in operation to some extent and had built a portion of the line. 
some fifteen or twenty miles of track. At this time I was in Sacramento and 
met Mr. Huntington, who invited me to take a ride on a new locomotive that 
was about to make a trial trip a few miles from Sacramento. I accepted the 
invitation; and while with him, conversation arose between us regarding his 
success while Fast, acting as the financial agent of the railroad, and he told 
me the manner of his success in securing financial aid to the read. 

"While in the East Mr. Huntington called upon several locomotive works 
and iron manufacturers for the purpose of obtaining iron for rails and loco- 
motives, and he was rebuffed by every one upon whom he called, as they con- 
sidered the scheme altogether too large, or not worthy of business considera- 
tion, as Huntington offered them no money, only the bonds of the company, 
to obtain the material. In nearly every instance where he called upon them, 
the question was raised, how much money he would give if the) took his 
order; and he found it was necessary to have some money. 

"He then thought of visiting Boston and calling upon ( Hiver Ames, who 
was iii the hardware or shovel business there and of whom Huntington & 
Hopkins were customers. Huntington, however, had no personal acquaintance 
with Ames. He called upon him and told him he had a proposition to lay 
before him. Ames appointed a time for interview the next day. To while 
away the tine until then. Huntington said he walked the Streets looking at 



116 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

the shop windows, as he had no other business in Boston. The time appointed 
came, and he called upon Ames and laid his proposal before him, namely, to 
borrow $100,000 or $200,000 and give a large amount of bonds of the 
proposed railroad company as security. Oliver Ames' reply was : 'Are 
you going to give the bonds of something that is not yet in existence? 
I will have to look into this matter and think it over.' And he made 
another appointment for the next day. When Huntington again presented 
himself, Ames told him that after he had heard his proposition, the first 
thing he had done was to examine the books of his firm to see how 
Huntington & Hopkins stood ; and said he, T must say this, that no firm 
or customer that we have on our books has been more prompt in the 
meeting of their obligations in every way, shape or manner than the firm 
of Huntington & Hopkins during the time they have been dealing with 
us. Now, do you intend to carry on the construction of this work :n the 
same manner as you have carried on your business operations?' Hunt- 
ington answered that they certainly intended to do so. 'Well, then,' said 
Ames, T do not hesitate a moment to loan you the $100,000 or $200,000 
that you require in cash ; and I will do so and take your bonds, provided 
that the firm of Huntington & Hopkins will take the same interest in 
the affairs of the road and look after my interest as they have done when 
I sold them goods.' And he added, T think I can be of more benefit to 
you in other ways than even by loaning you this money. I can give you 
letters to the different iron and locomotive men and others, and I am 
acquainted with nearly all of them ; and I think these letters will be of 
great advantage to you in making your contracts with them.' 

"He then prepared letters, as he had promised, to all the different 
iron manufacturers and locomotive builders ; and with these and the assur- 
ance of the amount he had asked, Mr. Huntington once more went among 
the manufacturers whom he had before visited with such poor success. 
The purport of the letters given him by Ames was that he, Oliver Ames, 
had confidence in the enterprise and in the men who were undertaking it 
to such an extent that he had taken- a good many of their bonds as an 
investment, and considered it perfectly good or he would not have accepted 
them, on account of the integrity of the men who were at the head of 
the enterprise. 

"Huntington told me that when he presented his letters to the different 
iron and other manufacturers, he had no trouble to get all the material he 
wanted and upon all the credit he wanted ; in fact, he did not actually 
need the money. 

"That was the starting-point of his success in the East. Not only 
this, but Ames told him that he had a brother who was in Congress and 
who might be of great assistance in furthering the interests of the railroad 
there. This information I received from Mr. Huntington himself, as I 
have above stated." 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY IV, 



CHAPTER VIII 

AUBURN 
The Christening of Auburn 

"The town of Auburn is one of the oldest in the State, having been 
a 'mining camp' of considerable importance early in 1849. Of the first 
discovery of gold upon its site, or in its neighborhood, there is at this time 
no reliable account ; but when the writer of this article passed the spot in 
the first days of July, 1849, the ravines, converged in what is now the 
Plaza, showed signs of having been wrought to some extent during the 
previous rainy season. The only persons at work, however, at that time 
(July) were two Chilenos 'panning' in Rich Ravine, a short distance above 
where the American Hotel now stands, and a white man with a rocker 
upon the Main Auburn Ravine, near the present bridge on the turnpike. 
About the middle of July YVm. Gwynn and H. M. Honn started trading- 
posts here, and a considerable population began to accumulate. Up to that 
time the place had been known as 'Wood's Dry Diggings' ; its new name 
of 'Auburn' was adopted during the following winter." 

The foregoing is from the pen of R. J. Steele, one of the publishers 
of the Directory of the County of Placer for the year 1861. 

In the discussion that has arisen regarding the naming of Auburn, 
the question is often asked, "Who was the first person to discover gold 
in Auburn?" In answer, the assertion is often confidently made that it 
was this one or that one, and often a third name is mentioned. Claude 
Chana, a Frenchman, is most often given that honor, yet it is a fact that 
"Wood's Dry Diggings" was a name so firmly fastened to the locality 
which we now know as Auburn, that the champions of its priority are 
still very insistent. Another general name mentioned very often in the 
early records was "North Fork Dry Diggings" or "The North Fork Dry 
Diggings." In an effort to throw some light on the mooted question, and 
at the same time to present a first-hand view of the early mining activities 
here, I shall quote from various sources of information. 

A most interesting diary was kept by an old pioneer of Placer County. 
John A. Markle, who later died in Kelsey Township, Eldorado County. 
The diary is entitled "The Travels of a Gold Digger en Route." starting 
at St. Joseph, Mo., April 18, 1849, and ending in Auburn. Cal., January 
18, 1850. The diary is contained in a hook 6j/> by 7Yi inches, written 
on eighty-seven full pages. 

( )n Sunday, September 2, 1849, Mr. Markle and party arrived at Sacra- 
mento, via the Truckee, Donner, Bear River and Sinclair Ranch route, 
and there he remained for some time suffering from poison oak. The diary 
was recently discovered among some old papers belonging to tin- late Solon 
Stevens, old-time druggist of Auburn. It lies before me as I write, and 
I quote from the last fourteen pages. 

"Wednesday, September 26th, 1849. By this time 1 am much better 
of the poison. Lorin Robbins and I agree to go to the mine.-, together. 




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HISTORY ()F PLACER COUNTY 119 

"Thursday, September 27th. This morning we got some provisions. 
and about 4 o'clock P. M. loaded them on an ox wagon and staretd for 
the North Fork Dry Diggings. We traveled with the wagon awhile, but 
it being slow, we started ahead and got to the Blue Tent at 10 o'clock 
where we waited until the wagon came up ; we then got our bed and slept 
at the root of an oak. Distance today was thirteen miles. 

'"Friday, September 28th. Today we wandered along until we came 
to the Half-way House, when we got dinner. Four miles more brought 
us to the Oregon Tent, where we stayed all night with some New Yorkers 
who had come around the Horn. 

"Saturday, September 29th. Seven miles this morning brought us to 
the Miner's Hotel where we cooked dinner. YVe then started ahead of 
the wagon, and eight miles brought us to another boarding tent kept 
by a Mormon ; being lost from our wagon, and not knowing when it would 
come up, we called for supper, and got it by paying two dollars each. 

"Sunday, September 30th. We waited until 9 o'clock this morning 
and the wagon did not come ; so we started on. Four miles brought us 
to the Dry Diggings, our place of destination; but no wagon there. It 
arrived however, about 4 o'clock. We then selected an oak, cooked supper, 
made our beds and slept. 

"Monday, October 1st. Today Robbins and Risher, a man who came 
with us, sold some articles they had left when they were up here before, 
and in the evening we moved up the left-hand ravine about one and a 
half miles to a spring, where we stayed all night. 

"Tuesday, October 2nd. Robbins and I made a tent, and Risher went 
to the river to prospect. 

''Wednesday, October 3rd. Today Robbins and I went to the river. 
We prospected with our pans, but could get nothing. We then loaned a 
washer and washed out about five dollars worth. 

"Thursday. October 4th. Today Risher and I went prospecting further 
up the river, but did not succeed well. Robbins went to buy a mule to 
pack our things to the Middle Fork; like us, he was unsuccessful. 

"Friday, October 5th. Today we all went to the river, and panned 
out about two dollars apiece ; and rather than climb the mountain to our 
tent, we concluded to stay on the river. Our bed was on pebble stones, 
and Oh ! such a sleep as we had ! 

"Saturday, October 6th. Today we washed awhile and then went to 
our tent, where we suppered on flap-jacks, and then retired. 

"Sunday, October 7th. Today we were wandering around in the Dry 
Diggings, and I succeeded in picking out a lump worth from three to 
four dollars; I then gathered up about a gallon of dirt, carried it to the 
water and washed it, and found about two dollars more. 

"Monday, October 8th. Today we dug in the Dry Diggings and made 
about six dollars. 

"Tuesday, October 9th. Today we did as yesterday. In the evening 
it rained enough to wet through a person's clothing — the first I have seen 
fall for a long while. 

"Wednesday, October 10th. Still working at the same place. Robbins 
found a lump worth twelve dollars and a half. It rained in the evening. 

"Thursday. October 11th. Today we dug and threw up dirt to pack 
to the water. Robbins found another lump worth nineteen and a half 
<lollars; clear in the evening and no rain. 

"Friday, October 12th. Today we bought a horse and packed dirt 
to a well that we dug; weather clear and cool. 

"Saturday. October 13th. Today we packed six loads and got twenty 
dollars, weather clear and warm. 



120 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

"Saturday, October 20th. Since Monday, we have been packing dirt 
and washing it. The weather was very warm all the week, as well as 
dry and clear. 

"Saturday, October 27th. Since Monday last, we have as usual been 
packing dirt. The weather, as last week, without rain. 

"Monday, October 29th. Today we washed what dirt we had packed, 
and concluded to throw up dirt to wash when the wet season sets in, as 
we have concluded to winter here. 

"Tuesday, October 30th; Throwing up dirt today. In the evening 
it began to rain. 

"Wednesday, October 31st. Today it rained — coming by small showers. 

"Thursday, November 1st. Today we commenced to build our cabin. 
The day clear and a little cold. 

"Friday, November 2nd. Still at work at the cabin. It rained some 
little through the day, and at night it poured down. The water came 
through our tent, our bedclothes became wet, and our sleep was not as 
pleasant as it might have been. 

"Saturday, November 3rd. This morning the rain continued to pour 
down ; the fire all out ; our bed wet, and still getting wetter. Robbins, 
looking at these things, got the blues bad enough for both of us ; so I 
laughed it off without much trouble. 

"Sunday, November 4th. This morning it was clear and we went to 
work on the cabin, as we thought it necessary to do so. In the evening 
it began to rain again and rained all night ; but we were a little more 
comfortable than on the previous night. 

"Monday, November 5th. Rained all day. Messrs. Willick and Whig- 
ham arrived here from Sacramento City. This morning Sampson made 
arrangements to cabin with us. Daddy Blue, Dodge and Quinch in a sweat 
about the matter. 

"Tuesday, November 6th. Today it was clear. Sampson, Robbins 
and myself went to work upon the cabin. 

"Wednesday, November 7th. Today it rained by showers, and we 
worked at intervals. 

"Thursday, November 8th. Today same as yesterday. 

"Friday, November 9th. Clear today and we got our cabin all ready 
for the roof. 

"Saturday, November 10th. This morning I took two horses and 
started for Sacramento City in company with Risher, who was going home. 
The day was somewhat wet, but not so much so as to stop us. We got 
to the Half-way House and stayed all night. 

"Sunday, November 11th. This morning my bill for breakfast, and 
letting my horses stand on a pile of spoiled hay, was three dollars and a 
half. The day was clear, the sun shone beautifully, and as we were going 
down the valley we could see the snow-clad peaks of both the Sierra Nevada 
and the Coast Range Mountains — one behind and the other before us. 

"Monday, November 12th. Today it was clear and pleasant. I bought 
what things I wanted, and made ready for starting. 

"Tuesday, November 13th. Today I waited unt : l the steamer McKim 
came up, expecting to get letters. I was disappointed. Rained in showers 
during the day, but at night it came down in torrents. 

"Wednesday, November 14th. This morning it was clear, and I started 
for home with about fifty pounds on one horse and seventy-five on the 
other. By wading and floundering through the water from one to two feet 
deep, I got across the valley. My horses frequently mired down so that 
I had to unload them. About sunset one of them mired so that I had to 
unpack him, tie the bridle reins to his feet, and roll him over before I 
could get him out. By this time it was dark and I was unable to proceed 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 121 

any farther; so 1 wrapped myself in my blanket, and was lulled to sleep 
by the howling of the coyotes. 

"Thursday, November 15th. This morning' I found my horses with a 
drove of wild ones, and had trouble in catching- them. After getting them. 
and shaking the lizards out of my blankets, in three miles the horses nr'red 
twice, so badly that I had to unpack. About 10 o'clock I got my breakfast 
— the first I had eaten since yesterday morning. About 10 o'clock at night 
I got to Auburn, where I stayed all night. 

"Friday, November 16th. After sleeping in Kennedy's tent all night, 

I went up home and got my breakfast — the first since yesterday morning. 

"Saturday, November 17th. By this time Robbins and Sampson had 
built the chimney and got the clapboards ready ; and by noon we had part 
of the roof on. In the afternoon it rained. 

"Sunday. November 18th. Today the weather was clear and cool; so 
we dried our bedclothes and other things. 

"Monday, November 19th. Today we worked at the cabin and finished 
the roof. It rained all day ; but at night we felt as if we had a shelter. 

"Tuesday, November 20th. Today was clear and warm, and we finished 
the cabin. 

"Wednesday, November 21st. Today was clear and pleasant, and we 
built a large fire in the cabin and dried it thoroughly. 

"Thursday, November 22nd. Today we moved into the cabin and 
commenced to lead a bachelor's life. 

"Tuesday, November 27th. Today we ha'd a shower of rain ; but since 
last Thursday the weather was clear and warm. 

"Sunday, December 2nd. Since Tuesday the weather has been clear 
and warm without any rain. Today I tried to bake some ginger-bread, 
but made a mistake and put in mustard in the place of ginger. 

"Sunday, December 9th. During the last week the weather has been 
beautifully clear, without any rain, and of nights there was a strong north 
wind, making the nights cold; but in the morning, after sunrise, the wind 
would change and blow from the south, which made the days warm and 
pleasant. 

"Sunday, December 16th. The weather for the last week has been 
variable. Monday and Tuesday were clear and cold. On Tuesday night 
it commenced raining and continued until Friday, occasionally ceasing a 
few hours. On Friday morning it commenced snowing, and continued 
to snow until night, when it ceased. Considerable snow fell, but the 
ground was so wet from the rain that it melted away. 

"Sunday, December 23rd. It rained all of last week with the exception 
of one day, when it was beautiful and clear, giving us a chance to get 
out of the cabin, where we were pent up to our dissatisfaction. 

"Tuesday, December 25th. Since Saturday the weather has been fine 
Today being Christmas, we did not work. O! glorious Christmas! Hall. 
Robbins and I got a quarter of venison and a bottle of old Monongahela, 
and retired to the cabin. We then made a pot-pie. After it was cooked 
we ate, drank and were merry until evening; we then topped off with a 
taffy-pulling, which was quite amusing when we got our lingers mixed 
among sticky molasses. 

"Monday, December 31st. Since Tuesday there has been no rain except 
a little that "fell on Thursday. 

"Tuesday, January l*t, 1850. Today it rained moderately. Aboul 

II o'clock Robbins and I took our plates, knives and forks, and went to 
Hall and Martin's tent, to partake of a put-pie made of beef and potatoes, 
for the occasion. The feast was glorious and good, and was n < > t without 
a little of that stuff which makes a person happ) for a short time. At 
night we went to Auburn, where we spent the evening." 



122 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

The above, from Mr. Markle's dairy, shows several things : First, 
the vicissitudes of early pioneer days ; second, the weather conditions for 
fall and early winter ; third, his success at mining in the North Fork Dry 
Diggings, and that the mining on the river was some distance away, with 
a hard hill to climb down and up to their cabin ; and fourth, that they built 
their cabin above the "Dry Diggings, our place of destination." Other 
statements, also, are significant, as, for instance, that they "moved up the 
left-hand ravine about one and a half miles to a spring," and that Robbins 
and Risher had been in the neighborhood before. Markle says that on 
returning from Sacramento with two horses and provisions, about ten 
o'clock at night he got to "Auburn," where he stayed all night, and that 
the next morning, the 16th, after sleeping in Kennedy's tent all night, 
he went up home and got his breakfast. Was the name "North Fork Dry 
Diggings" the name for Auburn, or the general name for a long stretch of 
what is known as "Auburn Ravine," including "Baltimore Ravine," and 
the rich ravine up towards the old Bernhardt place? 

There is another name that often appears in the records before the 
name Auburn became fully fixed and settled, and that is "Wood's Dry 
Diggings." Some contend to this day that Wood first discovered gold 
in and near Auburn, in (as we now know it) "Auburn Ravine." John S. 
Wood, without a doubt, mined in the ravine near the present Auburn early 
in 1849. Perhaps he was one of Colonel Stephenson's Regiment that arrived 
in California too late for active service in the Mexican War. About a 
dozen soldiers settled on the bend of the ravine, about half a mile below 
the present Auburn, at the place ever since called "Soldier's Spring." They 
finally moved to Barnes' Bar on the North Fork. 

Capt. Charles H. Robinson, of Auburn, a veteran of the Civil War, 
has collected the following facts about John S. Wood from Wood's niece, 
Mrs. Kate B. Layman, a visitor at -Auburn. Wood was most probably 
from Ottumwa, Iowa, as he returned there in 1855. He was city marshal 
of Ottumwa for several years. When the Civil War came on, he joined 
the 7th Iowa Cavalry, and was made captain of Company A. Subsequently 
he became major, by which title he came to be known in Iowa and Mon- 
tana. The regiment served in the northwest Indian country, and was 
mustered out at Omaha, Nebr., January 31, 1865. Major Wood was later 
government agent for the Blackfoot Indians in Montana ; later still, he 
lived in Ottumwa, Iowa, and was in the employment of the Burlington 
& Missouri Railroad for many years. Wood died at Omaha, Nebr., July 
4, 1912, aged eighty-eight years. The belief has prevailed in the immediate 
family of Wood that he was the first to discover gold in what is now called 
Auburn Ravine, or at least that he mined in the ravine early in the spring 
of 1849, and that his name became fixed on this special locality as "Wood's 
Dry Diggings." But let us hear what others say about the matter. 

Mr. Henry Thomas Holmes, for many years a resident of Auburn 
and Placer County, says in his reminiscences given elsewhere : "We 
arrived at San Francisco, July 1, 1849, remained there a few days, and then 
took passage on a schooner for Sacramento, paying $16 deck passage to 
that place, and arriving there after two or three days' sailing. After a 
few days in Sacramento, we hired an ox-team to take us to the North 
Fork of the American River, 35 miles above Sacramento, and on our way 
passed through the present town of Auburn, then called Wood's Dry Dig- 
gings." He and his party mined on the North Fork of the American River 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 123 

until the fall of 1849. then went to the Sandwich Islands for the winter, but 
came back to the river and mines in 1850, from which time the name of 
the place is Auburn. 

E. T. Loving, an old resident of Auburn, says in his essay or statement 
that he left New York on June 13, 1850, and reached San Francisco in 
the latter part of August. 1850. The same night he went up the river by 
steamboat to Sacramento. From there he started by wagon and horses 
for Coloma, where he stayed about two weeks, and then came across 
on foot to Auburn, and did his first work on the ravine near Ophir. 

A printed article (to be found in a later chapter) entitled "Justice in 
the Early Days: A Newspaper Man's Account of the First Trial Held in 
Auburn in 1850," has the following heading: "Log Cabin on the North 
Fork, Auburn, Cal., Feb. 16, 1850." This tends to show that in the month 
of February, 1850, the first miners' trial of the neighborhood took place 
in a mining camp called Auburn. Furthermore, in the last lines of the 
article the correspondent refers to "Samuel W. Holladay, of Cleveland, 
Ohio, the temporary alcalde of these dry diggings, a noble-hearted, talented 
young man," and closes with these words: "and quietness and good order 
once more reigned triumphant in the dry diggings on the North Fork." 
These recurrent references to the "dry diggings on the North Fork" lend 
credence to our surmise that the name Auburn had been recently adopted. 

Claude Ghana was a Frenchman who came over the summit in 1846 
and stopped for a time with other French immigrants on the Bear River 
near Johnson's Ranch. In the spring of 1847 he went to Sutter's Fort 
and worked as a cooper for seven months, after which he returned to 
Sicard's Ranch, on the Bear River. The owner of this ranch was a country- 
man of his. 'While at Sutter's Fort. Chana became well acquainted with 
James W. Marshall, who was also working at the fort. 

During the winter of 1847, Sicard's Ranch became the headquarters 
for immigrants of French extraction — hunters and trappers. There was 
considerable travel back and forth from the Bear River to Sinclair's Ranch 
and Sutter's Fort ; so the news of Marshall's discovery of gold in Coloma 
in 1848 was not slow in reaching the settlements on the Bear River. The 
more direct way from Sicard's Ranch to Coloma was unblazed ; so Chana, 
who determined to visit his friend Marshall, went the usual route, via 
Sinclair's Ranch and Sutter's Fort, and then up the South Fork of the 
American to Coloma. At Sutter's Mill he found the people all busy dig- 
ging for gold ; among them were some Frenchmen, who taught Chana the 
best methods — with tin and wooden pans. 

Chana came back the same route he went to Coloma, intending 1" 
procure an outfit and return to Sutter's Mill. At the ranch he found a 
man by the name of Francois Gendron, an old trapper who had been west 
of the Rocky Mountains since 1832; Philibert Courteau, who came into 
California with Fremont in 1843-1844; and also another Frenchman by tin- 
name of Eugene. These men and himself formed a company to dig gold 
at Coloma. The party made bateas, or wooden pans, lor washing the dirt. 
They took along with them twenty-five Indians, all natives but six who 
came from Oregon. The whole outfit included thirty-five hor>cs. Fran- 
cois Gendron. being an experienced mountain man. volunteered to lead the 
party directly across the country to Coloma, instead of down to Sutter's 
Fort and then Up the South Fork of tin- American. The first night, the\ 
camped at what later was called "Cox's Ranch." and tin- second night not 



124 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

far from the present site of Ophir, on Auburn Ravine. This was early in 
May, 1848. Chana tried his batea, or wooden pan, and got gold. He 
followed up the Ravine and, as he said afterwards, about half-way between 
Judge Myres' house and the old "Deadfall," washed out the first pan in the 
district. He got three good-sized pieces of gold. 

The prospects looked good, but they were without experience as miners. 
They set to work in the main ravine. About the same time, Sinclair began 
to work Indians upon the American River. He, through the Indians, 
learned that Chana and party had discovered gold in the foothill ravines, 
and came up to see them. The river gold was fine ; the ravine gold was 
coarse. Sinclair, however, concluded to continue mining on the river, and 
tried to persuade Chana to go with him to the main American River ; but 
Chana and party continued at work on the main ravine for two weeks. 
They then began on the Baltimore Ravine, just below Judge Myres' late 
home. They w r orked there one week, finding some good-sized specimens. 
The ground was not considered rich. They were without experience ; their 
tools were not adapted for mining purposes. Chana is reported to have 
said that they took out only three pounds of gold during the three weeks' 
work. Reports came of great strikes on the Yuba by Sicard, and Chana 
and his party set off for the Yuba. 

The next we hear of our immediate Auburn Ravine is that some In- 
dians in the employment of Nicolaus Allegeier soon followed Chana. 

Claude Chana went to the Yuba River, and in October, 1849, returned 
to Sicard's Ranch on the Bear River the possessor of $25,000. 

Although Claude Chana's mining operations, begun on Auburn Ravine 
on May 16, 1848, were not successful, yet the gold in good paying quantities 
was there, because others, and no doubt with better tools, had no difficulty 
in taking out big sums. 

Samuel Seabrough, in his sketches of the "Beginning of Placer Mining 
in California," says: 

"In the 'Dry Diggings,' near Auburn, during the month of August, 
1848, one man got $16,000 out of five cart-loads of dirt. In the same 
diggings a good many were collecting from $800 to $1500 a day. 

"The region soon acquired the name of 'The North Fork Dry Diggings,' 
and in the summer or fall of 1849, when the settlement became more 
concentrated and stores were established, was given the appellation it now 
bears, 'Auburn.' " 

That Auburn Ravine was very rich in coarse gold, there can be no 
doubt. At Rich Flat, near the Bernhardt place, up the ravine for a mile or 
less and down as far as Virginia Town and farther, the mining, while it 
lasted, was good. John Boggs told the writer that the ravine under the 
American Hotel had never been mined, and that he would rather have the 
privilege of mining the ground under the hotel than have the value of 
the structure. 

Mr. Zuver, an Iowa Grand Army man, and his three sons mined the 
ravine below Auburn one winter, about 1890. They used sledges and 
crowbars largely, prying out many of the rocks and cleaning out the lowest 
crevices. 

Recapitulation 

Now, as to the different names for this immediate locality. We have 
many facts before us, though some points are a little obscure. The writer 
has drawn his own conclusions, which are as follows : The name, "The 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 125 

Xurtli Fork Dry Diggings," was the general name for the whole ravine 
now known as Auburn. It was near the North Fork of the American 
Ri\er. The bars on the river and the river were not "dry diggings." Manv 
had their tents and cabins at or near the "Dry Diggings," and went down 
the river hills to prospect and mine. 

Claude Chana, the Frenchman, with his companions from Sicard's Ranch 
on Bear R : ver and Indian laborers, has frequently asserted that he dug 
his first gold from the "Dry Diggings" on May 16, 1848, on the main 
ravine, not far from Judge Alyres' ranch, somewhere below the present 
Auburn and above Ophir ; that he mined two weeks in the main ravine 
and one week in Baltimore Ravine without much success. The next miner 
was Nicolaus Allegeier, who followed Chana with some Indian laborers. 

Samuel Seabrough, the writer, describes some miners who next mined 
in the "Dry Diggings" in August, 1848, and who were very successful. 

Then came the disbanded soldiers of Colonel Stephenson's Regiment, 
who came to the "Dry Diggings" early in the spring of 1849. They gave 
the name "Soldier's Spring" to a clear bod)- of water which still refreshes 
the thirsty just below Auburn. They soon went to Barnes' Bar on the 
North Fork. Most of the soldiers came around the Horn in two ships 
called the "Loo Choo" and "Susan Drew." It is not improbable that a 
soldier named John S. Wood was among them, who remained on the 
ravine and continued his mining operations near Soldier's Spring and 
around our present county seat, and gave a particular section of the "dry 
diggings" the local name "Wood's Dry Diggings." H. T. Holmes states 
positively that this was the name early in July, 1849, when he reached this 
locality. Wood's niece, Mrs. Kate B. Layman, who resided in Auburn 
for a time, states that it was a tradition in her family that Wood actually 
first discovered gold in the "Dry Diggings"; or at least, that the mines 
were known in his immediate family by the name of "Wood's Dry Dig- 
gings." Capt. C. H. Robinson, an old resident and soldier, and an earnest 
searcher for historical facts, has no hesitancy in asserting that for a certain 
period of time the name "Wood's Dry Diggings" covered a portion of the 
"diggings" including the present Auburn and "Soldier's Spring," and ex- 
tending down the ravine a short distance. A belief and conviction so 
firmly settled cannot be lightly cast aside. The writer is convinced that the 
name "Wood's Dry Diggings" should be given an unqualified credence. 

But the change came soon — almost over night. John A. Markle says 
in his diary that he started for the North Fork Dry Diggings on September 
27, 1849, and reached his destination on September 30. ( >n ( )ctober 1 he 
moved up the left-hand ravine about one and one-half miles to a sprint;;, 
and there settled and began mining. On November 10 he went to Sacra- 
mento for supplies. On November 15, at ten o'clock at night, he got to 
"Auburn." where he stayed all night. He slept in Kennedy's tent, and next 
morning, the 16th, went up home and got breakfast, lie must have lived 
in his cabin up the ravine above Auburn a short distance. < >n January 1. 
1850, Markle and Robbins went with their plates, knives and forks to the 
Hall & Martin tent and partook of that grand beef and potato pot-pie, 
and in the evening they went to "Auburn." 

The New Yorkers were numerous as ex-soldiers, miners and business 
men. Markle says that on September 28, 184<>, on his way to the mine-, 
he staid all night at the Blue Tent with some New Yorkers who had come 
around the Horn. And so, when the village became settled and stores and 



126 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

other places of business were erected, then, perhaps through weight of 
numbers of the New Yorkers from their Eastern home city, or by common 
consent, or by vote of a town meeting, or by poetic inspiration — no one 
seems to know just how or why — the new-born settlement received its 
present name, and "Auburn, the loveliest village of the plains," had her 
christening day. 

CHOICE OF THE COUNTY SEAT 

To get a correct idea of Auburn as a county seat and place of resi- 
dence, independent of and above its importance as an early-day mining 
camp, we must comment to a small extent on the history of Sutter and 
Vuba Counties and the two county seats of Sutter County. 

The first State legislature, on February 18, 1850, divided the State 
into twenty-seven counties, Sutter and Yuba being two of them. Sutter 
County as originally constituted lay south and west of a line starting on 
Bear River six miles from its mouth and running in a direct course to the 
junction of the North and Middle Forks of the American River. That 
portion to the north and east was Yuba County. 

Auburn and the surface-mining section west of this line were in Sutter 
County; and a place called Oro, on Bear River, two miles from the junction 
of the Bear and Feather Rivers, was the county seat. Oro was a mere 
paper town, born in the fertile brain of Thomas Jefferson Green, who was 
one of the Senators representing the district which was to be organized 
into a new county and have a county seat. Auburn was then a lively 
mining camp, and with Nicolaus, Vernon and Yuba City, was a candidate 
for the position of county town. But let Judge P. W. Keyser, in his 
Centennial address at Nicolaus on July 4, 1876, describe the matter. 

"Bear Creek, or River, as it was sometimes called, was in those days 
a small but pretty stream, quietly and lazily wandering through the foot- 
hills and down to the plains, where it meandered between well-defined 
and well-wooded banks, its calm flow disturbed and impeded by trees and 
underbrush growing thickly in the midst of its clear waters, to Feather 
River, with which it formed a junction a mile or two above Nicolaus. Of 
course, it was unnavigable, except to light rowboats, and not to them in 
low water ; while the large river steamers, of which the largest and finest 
was the 'Senator,' could, even at the highest water, scarcely approach the 
mouth. 

"Green, however, in describing, during the discussion of the county-seat 
question, the advantages of his town of Oro, spoke of the splendid river 
on which it was situated, the waters of which, he asserted, when at the 
lowest stage of a long and dry summer, could be easily navigated. A 
brother Senator, who knew Green's weakness for hyperbole, interrupted 
by asking him if he meant to say that the river steamers could navigate 
Bear River at its lowest stage of water. T mean to say,' replied Green, 
'that the Senator can navigate it at any time of the year.' After adjourn- 
ment some one accused him of having, to put it mildly, stretched the truth 
in saying that a steamer like the 'Senator' could navigate Bear River. 'I 
never said,' answered Green, 'that the steamer "Senator" could. I said the 
Senator could, but I meant the Senator who had asked the impertinent 
question.' " 

The First County Officers 

The first election of county officers was set by the legislature for the 
first Monday of April, 1850. The records of the election were very incom- 
plete, but it seems the following were elected: County judge, Gordon N. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 127 

Mott; county attorney, N. Fisher; county clerk. T. B. Reardon : sheriff, 
John Pole; recorder, George Pierson ; treasurer, Willard Post; assessor, 
William H. Monroe. P. N. Thomas and Tallman H. Rolfe were justices 
of the peace and associate judges of the Court of Sessions. 

The First Session of Court 

The first meeting of the Court of Sessions was held June 10. 1850, at 
Oro, the county seat, with County Judge Gordon N. Mott presiding; P. N. 
Thomas and T. H. Rolfe. associate justices; and T. B. Reardon, clerk. The 
first entry of proceedings on that day was as follows : 

"Upon it appearing to the court that there were not proper and neces- 
sary accommodations at Oro, the county seat, for the offices of the several 
county officers who are by law required to keep their offices open, it is 
ordered that, for the future, and until such buildings can be procured at 
the county seat, the courts and county offices shall be held and kept open 
at Nicolaus, being the next nearest point where such buildings can be 
procured, and the clerk of said court is ordered to give notice of the above 
order. 

"There being no more business before the court today, it is adjourned 
to meet at Nicolaus tomorrow at 10 o'clock A. M." 

At a special meeting of the court, held at Nicolaus the next day, it was 
ordered "that a poll-tax of three dollars be levied upon each male inhabitant 
over twenty-one and under fifty years of age, and a tax of twenty-five 
cents upon each $100 worth of real or personal property in the county, this 
tax to be levied and raised for county expenditures." 

The Court-House at Oro 

The following description of that famous county seat and the adjourn- 
ment of the court are from the address of Judge Keyser, from which 
quotations have been made above. 

"Oro. however, enjoyed the honor, if it enjoyed it at all, but a short 
time. There was not a house nor a building in the town for any purpose, 
much less for holding court, the transaction of county business, and the 
preservation of public records. Some preparations must be made by the 
owners of the town to enable the first term, at least, of the court to be 
held at the county seat; and to this end they erected, or rather planned 
Upon the ground, a zinc building about 20 by 20 feet in size, with a floor 
of rough boards, a roof of zinc, and holes cut for the court, the litigants, 
the witnesses, the jurors and the air to enter, but without glass or shut- 
ters for the windows, or doors for entrances. Not a tree or brush or shrub 
grew near enough to give its shade to the building; a June sun poured 
its rays upon that zinc building, until, outside and inside, it became almost 
as hot as the furnace of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Paw and 
equity, lawyers and litigants, jurors and witnesses, with a spontaneity oi 
action that would astonish nothing but a salamander, rushed out of and 
fled that building, never again to return." 

Auburn Becomes the County Seat 

Thompson and West's History of Placer County, page C U. gives a con- 
servative statement regarding the "Election for County Scat." as follows: 

"The mass of the population of the county was in the viciivty Oi 
Auburn, upon the North Fork of the American River, and among the vari- 
ous dry diggings adjacent. These demanded the removal of the county 
seat, and an order was obtained for the election, submitting the question 
to a vote of the people. 



128 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

"Four ambitious places entered the lists for the prize. Auburn, Nicolaus, 
Ophir, and Miners' Hotel. A comprehensive and comprehensible history 
of that election, it would be difficult at this day to write. 

"In the preceding year elections had been held for delegates to the 
constitutional convention for the adoption of the constitution and for State 
and county officers. The elections were conducted in the simplest and 
most primitive forms. Party divisions were almost unknown ; there was 
a general fraternization of the people digging gold and trading in mer- 
chandise, and town lots were more profitable than office-holding, and no 
efforts were made to influence or excite voters. Polling places were held 
where convenient, and it is reported that boxes were fastened to trees 
convenient to the roadside and passing trails, where citizens could deposit 
their votes or examine those which had preceded theirs. Even with this 
freedom from restraint, the total vote was far less than the voting popula- 
tion, and the elections were satisfactory to all classes. 

"But a different feeling prevailed in the election to decide the location 
of the county seat. It was in 1850. The population had increased, and 
the glamour of gold-mining had worn off. All were ripe for fun or excite- 
ment. The question was not a serious one of national honor or great 
political principle, but a rivalry between towns, and it was contested on 
the policy of the 'devil take the hindmost.' Each place voted to the utmost 
stretch of its population and conscience. The result was the selection of 
Auburn as the county seat of Sutter County by 'a large majority,' or as 
Mr. Steele, the historian of 1861, puts it: 'The favorable location of 
Auburn, its preponderance of population, and the inexhaustible powers of 
voting possessed by its citizens and partisans, decided the contest in its 
favor by a majority considerably exceeding the entire population of the 
county.' 

"Such a vote it would be useless to contend against, and Auburn 
became the county seat. A court-house of slight frame and canvas cover- 
ing, and a substantial jail of logs, were constructed. These were rude 
structures, but answered the tempor-ary purpose." 

In the Directory of Placer County for 1861, R. J. Steele states that he 
passed through the future Auburn in early July, 1849. The events above 
described, and other matters of interest in the early history of the town, 
are summarized by him, in his account in the directory, as follows : 

"In the spring of 1850 it [Auburn] had assumed quite an important 
position as a mining town, and was the trading-point of a very extensive 
mining district. The principal traders were Bailey & Kerr, D'sbrow & 
Willment, Walkup & Wyman, Parkinson & Leet, Wetzlon & Sutter, Wm. 
Gwynn, H. M. Honn, and Post & Ripley. Of these pioneers, Mr. Willment 
alone remains a resident of the town, and is doing business at the old 
stand [1861]. 

"In the first division of the State into counties, Auburn came within 
the boundaries of Sutter, the county seat being at Nicolaus, on Bear River, 
some thirty miles distant. The mass of the population being in the nearer 
vicinity of Auburn, upon the North Fork of the American, and among the 
various dry diggings adjacent, the removal of the county seat was de- 
manded, and an order obtained for an election submitting the question to 
the people. 

"Four ambitious precincts entered the lists for the honor — Auburn, 
Nicolaus, Ophir and Miners' Hotel (Franklin House). The favorable loca- 
tion of Auburn, its preponderance of population, and the inexhaustible 
powers of voting possessed by its citizens and partisans, decided the con- 
test in its favor by a majority considerably exceeding the entire population 
of the county. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 129 

"The legislature of 1851, by an act creating the enmities of Nevada. 
Placer, Trinity and Klamath, cut the town off from Sutter again, bringing 
it within the boundaries of the new County of Placer, and declaring it the 
county seat. This act also provided for the holding" of a special election 
for the organization of the county, and appointing Joseph YValkup, IT. M. 
Honn, J. D. Frev, YYm. Gwynn and Jonathan Roberts commissioners of 
said election. The election was held on the 26th day of May. 1851, and 
upon canvassing the vote the following officers were declared elected : 
H. Fitzsimmons, county judge; Samuel C. Astin, sheriff; R. I). Hopkins, 
district attorney ; James T. Stewart, clerk ; Alfred Lewis, assessor ; Douglas 
Bingham, treasurer. 

"Horace Davenport, of Rattlesnake, contested the seat of Fitzsimmons; 
Hiram R. Hawkins, of Deadman's Bar, that of Stewart; and Abraham 
Bronk, of Horseshoe, that of Bingham, and upon a rehearing by the com- 
missioners, fraud in the returns was shown, and the contestants were 
declared entitled to their respective offices. The proceedings of the com- 
missioners were, however, declared void by the district court, and Fitz- 
simmons held his seat as judge, while Stewart appointed Hawkins as his 
deputy, and Bingham's death occurring on the very day of the trial, Bronk 
was appointed treasurer by the court of sessions. 

"The court-house was at this time a crazy wood and cloth tenement, 
occupying the present site of Mrs. Roussin's residence on Court Street, 
and the jail a small but secure structure of logs upon the rear of the 
same lot. 

"The town was composed of about equal numbers of log cabins and 
clapboard or shake houses. The National' Hotel was the only two-story 
building in the place. A gradual improvement in the number and style 
of the buildings has marked each succeeding year. Two destructive fires, 
the first on the 4th of June, 1855, and the second on the 9th of October, 
1859, have been rather improving than detrimental to the appearance of 
the town. Better and more ornamental structures have taken the place of 
those destroyed. There are at present nineteen brick and stone buildings, 
exclusive of the jail, some of which are blocks of two or more stores, 
making in all thirty-two brick tenements. 

"The residences of the citizens in the suburbs of the town are noted 
for their substantial character and neatness and taste displayed in their 
structure. Fruit and flowers flourish in unsurpassed abundance and lux- 
uriance, and each of these homes is surrounded by its orchard and em- 
bowered with clambering vines of almost perennial bloom. Those who 
recollect how bleak and barren, parched and sterile, those hills appeared 'in 
that elder day.' and now cast their eyes over the bright and smiling land- 
scape, can fully appreciate what it is t<> 'make the wilderness blossom 
like roses.' 

"Although once ranking among the first mining towns of tin- State. 
Auburn can at this time hardly be accounted as such. The diggings in 
the vicinity were of a superficial character, being confined almost exclus- 
ively to the beds of the numerous ravines and to the 'flats' at their sources. 
Among the latter. Spanish Flat, half a mile from town, and Rich Flat, at 
the head of Rich Ravine, were the most important and yielded abundantly 
for many years. Both are now considered 'worked out.' Spanish Flat is 
now a fertile garden spot and Rich Flat is an unsightly deserl of quartz 
boulders [now a fine pear orchard |. New ravines and flats have been 
opened up of late years in the adjacent country, comprising an area of 
fifteen or twenty miles square, giving employment to a large population, 
for whom Auburn is the market for sale of dust and purchase of supplies. 
The North Fork of the American is but a mile distant, and is year after 
year flumed almost from source to mouth. No deep coyote or tunnel 



130 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

diggings have been opened in this district. The country is thick-veined 
with quartz ledges, but as yet that branch of mining has been prosecuted 
with but indifferent success. . . . 

"In the first election, at the organization of the county, no party lines 
were drawn, and the offices of the county were held by men of both political 
parties. In the fall of 1851, in the election of members of the legislature, 
conventions were held and party nominations made, the Democratic party 
being successful, and that party has since been the dominant one in the 
county, except on very few occasions. 

"In 1854, the Democratic party being divided into the Broderick and 
Gwin factions, the Whigs elected a full county ticket. [The writer : 
The Whigs often called the two factions of the Democratic party the 
'Shovely' and the 'Chivalry' wings.] 

"Again, in 1855, the American party elected their legislative candidates. 
In 1858, the same party elected their tax collector, all the other offices 
being filled by Democrats. And in 1860, the Republicans elected one 
assemblyman and the county recorder, the latter beating his strongest 
Democratic opponent by only two votes, there being four tickets in the 
field. Hon. B. F. Myres was elected on a local, and not on a political issue; 
and his predecessor, Hon. J. M. Howell, Whig, was elected by a majority 
of 1000, in the face of a general Democratic majority in the district of 
over 1500." 

Judge Keyser, in his Centennial address at Nicolaus in 1876, gives fur- 
ther amusing facts about the removal of the county seat to Auburn (still in 
Sutter County). He says: 

"I wish I could remember the scenes and incidents that accompanied 
the removal of the county offices, county records, together with the resi- 
dent lawyers who felt it to be their interest to migrate with the first two, 
and to dwell within the sound of the musical voice of the sheriff as he cried, 
'Hear Ye !' from the court-house door. One circumstance I do remember, 
and that is that the county officials, the members of the Bar, and others 
who followed the removal of the county seat, were received with open 
arms and a hearty welcome by the citizens of Auburn. A great dinner was 
given to the new-comers by the leading business men of the town. Fiftv 
or sixty, comprising merchants, mechanics, miners, lawyers and doctors, 
sat down to a generously supplied table, around which, after the inner 
man had been satisfied, wine and wit, mirth and laughter circulated as 
freely and unembarrassed as if in their native homes. ... I recall 
the name of one, now several years dead, who was at that time a resident 
of Auburn, and a 'character' in that vicinity. It was Jim Crawford. He 
was a great mimic and full of rough humor. I remember that on the oc- 
casion of which I have been speaking Jim was called on for a song. He 
said he would comply if time was given him to send for his fiddle. This 
was done, and when that universally popular instrument was brought, Jim 
rose from his seat at the table, and standing on one foot, and placing the 
other upon his chair, began to play in inimitable style the 'Arkansas trav- 
eler.' For more than half an hour, alternately playing the tune, and tell- 
ing, in their order, the stories connected with it, he kept the table in a 
roar. I shall never forget his features, especially his eyes, when he told the 
story of the cross-eyed man. That those orbs could resume their natural 
position in his head seemed miraculous." 

The relations of Placer County and Sutter County have always been of 
the most friendly kind, and there may yet remain alive, in Placer County, 
pioneers whose residence was for a few years listed in old Sutter County, 
where they or their fathers voted and paid their taxes. 

The writer cut the following notice out of the Sacramento Union of 
March 8, 1920: 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 131 

"Nicolaus, Sutter Co., March 7. The American Hotel, which was the 
first court-house in Sutter County, erected in 1850 by Nicolaus Allegeier, 
after whom the then county seat was named, is being razed by Judge T. 
J. Mulvaney. The tearing down of the old building removes a landmark 
of the days when General Sutter was a resident of the county which bears 
his name. Sutter gave Allegeier a square mile of land for a townsite. At 
the time the court-house was built, seventy years ago, Nicolaus was a 
thriving community, an important point on the river, and a central point 
on the Marysville-Sacramento stage line. It was a rival of Marysville for 
the honor of the principal place between Sacramento and northern mines." 

The late Stephen J. Field, chief justice of the United States Supreme 
Court and first alcalde of Marysville, in his history of early California, 
says that half of the passengers on the boat on which he was traveling to 
Marysville disembarked at Nicolaus. Prior to 1854, when the county seat 
was moved to Yuba City, many important cases had been heard in the 
old court-house. A historic one was that of Rideout, a negro on trial for 
murder; for while the jury was deliberating, the defendant was lynched. 
Workmen found their labors interesting in razing the old court-house, as 
the greater portion of the lumber came around Cape Horn in 1848, was land- 
ed at San Francisco, and conveyed by boat to Nicolaus ; and the construc- 
tion was said to be substantially different from present-day methods. 

Reminiscences of John Craig Boggs 

John Craig Boggs, a pioneer of 1849 and a long-time resident of Au- 
burn, who for man}- years was constable and deputy sheriff, and in 1880- 
1883 sheriff of Placer County, has related to the writer many interesting 
stories of trips to Nicolaus while a citizen of Auburn and Sutter County. 
Some of the tales shed light on the zeal with which the Auburnites worked 
and voted to have the county seat transferred to Auburn. 

Whether Mr. Boggs had ever read Goldsmith's ''Deserted Village" or 
had any well-settled notions about the future beauty of Auburn, no one 
knows, but the town was not built up according to his plan. He and many 
others wanted the whole ridge between Commercial and Court Streets to 
be one large court-house lot. He also wanted the Plaza down town to 
remain open, as a little park. After one of Auburn's devastat : ng fires 
he urged strongly that by common consent the whole business part of the 
town move up on the comparatively level ground between the present 
court-house and Odd Fellows Hall and there rebuild, giving every man 
with a corner lot down town a similar lot upon the new site, etc.; but his 
arguments did not prevail. 

The first man who started to build in the center of the Plaza, where 
the Hollenbeck Bank once stood, was a saloon-keeper. The indignant 
citizens hurriedly caused protests and affidavits to be prepared, stating that 
a building was being erected on the Plaza at Auburn. A swift horseman 
was started to Nicolaus, the county seat, for an injunction. When the 
constable got back the next day with the restraining order prohibiting 
the man from constructing a building on the I'laza of Auburn, he agreed 
readily enough to abide by the order — for his building was already con- 
structed, and his wet goods were being dealt out. The simple structure 
did not take much time for its erection. 

The progressive Auburnites concluded the county scat was located too 
far away. Mr. Boggs states that when the question of moving the coun- 
ty seat to Auburn came up for a vote, the leaders went about the matter 



132 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

in a practical manner. The voting place was at Walkup and Wyman's log 
store building, located where later the Temple Building stood, across the 
street from where the three lawyers' offices now stand. There was no 
bothersome registration system in those days. A man simply announced 
his name, presented his ticket, and passed it through the open window, 
where it was received and dropped into the ballot box by the election of- 
ficers inside. 

A bright idea presented itself to the politicians of Auburn. The Coloma 
citizens and those of Auburn had always been very friendly. Gold was 
first discovered at Coloma, and next at Auburn. There was much travel- 
ing to and fro by the miners. Mr. Boggs says an urgent appeal was sent 
over to Coloma to send over every saddle-horse in that community, and 
a rider in every saddle — very urgent matter, and explanations would be 
made when they arrived. On the morning of the election sixteen husky 
horsemen arrived, and they were requested to aid with their votes in locat- 
ing the county seat of Sutter County in Auburn. Their entertainment 
would be furnished free, and they were requested to be diligent in their 
voting. The saddle-horses were borrowed by eight Auburn citizens, eight 
to ride and with a led horse, and these brought in and returned eight voters 
each trip from Millertown, Rock Creek, down on the American River, and 
anywhere voters could be found. The Coloma visitors changed names after 
each vote, and any high school boy or girl can name by the simple rule of 
permutation the number of votes given in aiding to locate the county 
seat at Auburn. The historian of 1861, R. J. Steele, speaks of the inex- 
haustible powers of voting possessed by the citizens of Auburn and their 
partisans ; but Mr. Boggs describes the results of the voting at Auburn that 
day by saying that there were more votes for Auburn for the county seat 
in the box that evening than there were white men and women, Spaniards, 
senoras, bucks, squaws and papooses in the whole of Sutter County. The 
writer does not vouch for this seemingly extravagant statement ; but there 
was without a doubt a very heavy vote cast that day in and for Auburn. 

The Historic Bell on Placer County's Court-House 

When the new court-house, which was dedicated July 4, 1894, was 
about finished, O. W. Hollenbeck, late banker and prominent citizen of 
Placer County, received a letter from a San Francisco foundryman request- 
ing him to quietly buy the old court-house bell, if the supervisors intended 
to sell the same. A court-house bell is rather an unusual convenience in 
the counties of the State. A ten or fifteen minute warning bell to come 
to court, like a church or school bell, made it easier for careless attorneys 
and tardy witnesses and jurors to be on time. Two judges especially, 
Myres and Prewett, were prompt in opening court, and many a sharp rep- 
rimand was dealt out to careless delinquents who kept the court and pub- 
lic business waiting. Mr. Hollenbeck quietly investigated and learned that 
the court-house bell was to be retained, though special arrangements were 
necessary to place the bell outside of the main tower so that the bell rope 
could be pulled at the lower floor or at the landing of the second or third 
stories of the new court-house. 

A record is always kept of good bells, and the old bell was described 
as of especially good make, a steel bell with an addition of certain valu- 
able metals and alloys when being cast. This bell and two others came 
around Cape Horn in early days, and were used in Placer and certain other 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 133 

counties — Sierra and Plumas, as the writer recalls the matter. The old 
Placer County court-house was built in 1854, and the same contractor built 
two other court-houses about the same time. The San Francisco bell man 
requested JSIr. Hollenbeck to secure the bell for him, it possible, because 
it was a very fine bell of its class. The old bell is numbered 876. The 
arched cross-arm to which the bell is attached has the words, "Naylor Vick- 
ers & Co., Sheffield," and near the bottom of the bell appears, "Naylor 
Vickers & Co.— 1859— Sheffield— Cast Steel— E. Riepe's Patent." The' di- 
ameter of the bell is twenty-seven inches, and that of the wheel for the 
bell-rope, twenty-five inches. 

The writer recalls an incident at the opening of court one rain}- day, 
about the year 1880. The warning bell was not rung on time. Judge Myres 
took his seat, and after waiting a few minutes for the attorneys and court 
officers, said : "Mr. Sheriff, I can walk a mile and be here on time, and 
you must ring the court-house bell at ten minutes before ten, or I will put 
you in jail." Sheriff John C. Boggs and the judge were both old men and 
pioneers. Two pairs of eyes snapped ominously, and the matter was ended. 

Early Fires in Auburn 

In early days Auburn suffered many destructive fires and as often re- 
built better buildings than had been destroyed. The destruction of per- 
sonal property, goods and merchandise is, of course, an actual loss of value, 
and if not insured, a total cash loss and hard to bear ; but the owner of 
a good business lot can, with a mortgage, borrow a portion of the value 
of the new structure, and the new building is generally better than the 
burned one, it often being a fireproof structure, or nearly so. For this rea- 
son a moderately destructive fire is often a benefit to a growing town. 

Of the many destructive fires which swept over Auburn in early days, 
the writer selects the fire of June 4, 1855, as a sample of the fires of early 
times. He will draw the facts pretty fully from the AYeekly Placer Herald, 
and the Placer Press, but more especially from the Placer Press, then a 
newly started paper, whose first issue had come out only two days before 
the fire. The comments of both editors will be characteristic of those 
days, and will show the buoyant and hopeful spirit after a great calamity, 
and incidentally the true courage of the editors. 

The Placer Press was a good-sized, four-page, six-column paper pub- 
lished by H. R. Hawkins & Co. In the salutatory the editors explained 
why the name of the paper was changed from the "Auburn Whig" to the 
Placer Press, which the editors thought was the largest country paper in 
the State. It was well written and had many columns of good, tat ad- 
vertising, private and official. Vol. I. No. 1 looked auspicious for Auburn, 
and was published on June 2, 1855. The next issue, published on June 
9, five days after the fire, was necessarily a small affair, about 6 by 11 
inches in size, with four pages, of two columns each. However it kept 
twelve official and four private advertisements, and ran a solid column 
of losses by the great fire of June 4. The Placer Press itself headed the 
list, with a loss of $4000. Some of the larger looses were Placer County, 
$13,000; Echols ,\: Lloyd, $10,000; II. .M. 11. .use. $20,000; George II. Steph- 
ens, $10,000; H. T. Holmes. $8000; A. Davidson. $9000; Anyo, $6000; Ching 
Chang, $6000; Lung Wa, $5000. The total los>es were given as $215,100; 
no insurance. In apology for the small size of the issue, the editor says: 



134 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

"In consequence of the entire loss of our office by the fire Monday- 
last, we issue this little sheet today in order that our subscribers may know 
that we 'still live.' We are under lasting obligations to Bro. Mitchell, of 
the 'Placer Herald,' for the use of his material, the greater part of which, 
we are happy to say, was saved. By next Saturday, or the Saturday fol- 
lowing, the 'Press' will resume its former size. . . . Our thanks are 
due the Pacific Express Co. for the early delivery of Atlantic papers by 
the steamer Cortes." 

As this is to be illustrative of an early-day fire at Auburn, the editor 
is allowed to describe it in full, under the title, "Auburn Totally Destroyed 
by Fire. Toss Over $200,000." 

"The agony is over. Auburn has been reduced to ashes. That long 
expected event, the burning of Auburn, took place on Monday, the 4th of 
June. From the 1st of June the weather has been excessively hot, the 
thermometer varying from ninety to one hundred in the shade, with the 
sun blazing down at such a furious rate upon the tinder boxes, of which 
the town was composed, that the least spark in the world would set the 
magazine all in one blaze. 

"The day was hot and sultry. 'Twas the hour of three o'clock, p. m., 
and scarcely a breath of air was stirring, when our citizens were startled 
by a cry of 'Fire !' 

"Our people left their houses and repaired to the part of town occu- 
pied by the Chinese, where in a house owned by Messrs. Ferrell and Brews- 
ter, and occupied by some Chinese, the fire originated. The house was 
soon enveloped in flames, and the air becoming rarefied by the heat, a 
current of wind came rushing in, and the flames leaped up and waved 
to and fro as the breeze fluctuated in its career. Meantime our citizens 
were industriously engaged with hooks, ladders, ropes, axes, buckets, &c, 
in vain efforts to confine the devouring element to the vicinity in which 
it commenced operation. 

"In ten minutes after the fire alarm it became so intensely hot that the 
people were obliged to abandon all hope of saving the town. The fire was 
across the street in houses of Kenzie, the Diana Bowling Saloon, Stephens' 
Livery Stable, and all others surrounding in that vicinity. All now turned 
to their own dwellings and bent their energies towards saving their own 
goods. Safes were closed upon money and papers, and those who had 
fireproof cellars pitched their effects as fast as possible into these recepta- 
cles, but most of us took what we could in our arms, and made the best 
time we could for the woods in Auburn ravine. 

"There were seen such sights as sufficiently indicate a temporary state 
of insanity on the part of the actors. There were men engaged in carry- 
ing crockery ware out of the shops very carefully in their arms, and then in 
their haste to return for more, never bending but dropping their load with 
a crash upon the ground. Two men ran desperately through the streets 
desperately intent upon saving a wagon tire. Others, with a presence of 
mind most extraordinary under the circumstances, grasped the decanters, 
kegs and demijohns of spirits and made for some secure spot. The streets 
were strewn with laces, calicos, new clothing, legal documents, jack-knives 
and eau de Cologne in bottles, the debris of the hasty retreat. 

"Very soon the fire communicated with the handsome hotel, the Em- 
pire, and thence to the National, streaming up the pillars, along the cor- 
ridors and balconies, and roaring in its strength through the halls and pas- 
sages, and then communicating with the balance of the house. The town 
leaped up to Heaven in one grand blaze. Scarcely three-quarters of an 
hour elapsed from the commencement of the fire until the place was one 
heap of smoldering ruins. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 135 

"The Court House and other houses on that hill down to and includ- 
ing the office of the Bear River and Auburn W. and M. Company, were 
at one time on fire and only saved by the extraordinary exertion of the 
Board of Supervisors (who were then in session) and the people there- 
abouts. 

"Every house from the Methodist Church on the hill west to the Au- 
burn Ravine, back of the National Hotel, has been destroyed. The livery 
stable belonging to Allen & Fogarty escaped more by good luck than any 
exertion to save it. No lives were lost, although a skull was found in the 
vicinity of Odd Fellows Hall, and some think it marks the remains of a 
sufferer. The first story of the hall was occupied by a family, but we 
scarcely think it was any of that family. A report was in circulation that 
the bones of a burnt Chinaman were found near where the fire originated, 
but when our reporter left the ground the antiquarians in the neighborhood 
were divided in opinion as to whether the aforesaid bones belonged or- 
iginally to one of the porcine race or of the genus Celestial. 

"There was some little stealing done as a matter of course: the oppor- 
tunity was too inviting for human cupidity to resist. Two or three gentle- 
men ( ?) were found levying taxes upon the unfortunate by insisting upon 
the value of certain services rendered by themselves in the hour of peri!, 
and which services were sometimes disputed, whereby blows were ex- 
changed instead of money. In bright contrast to this it should be recorded 
that many persons exerted themselves to save the property of our citi- 
zens without having the least interest in the world, pecuniarily, in the re- 
sult, and who would feel themselves insulted by any offer of compen- 
sation for such services. 

"Among these, we cannot refrain from alluding to Chesterfield Jack- 
son, a colored man, who, although badly wounded by a clumsy axeman at 
the outset, continued to exert himself and to so much purpose that the 
saving of the houses on Court House hill is attributed to his labor, skill 
and judgement. Some substantial acknowledgement should be made to 
this man, especially as from his wound he is incapacitated from the necessary 
labor to support himself and family — at least for the present. 

"Good humor, as a general rule, prevailed, and the night closed in 
upon our homeless people, who exhibited so much fortitude under the dis- 
aster that one might suppose they actually enjoyed the fire. Envious, evil- 
minded persons attribute this to the fact that the records of the Division of 
the Sons of Temperance of this place were destroyed, and slanderously 
assert that some members of the division, with the Grand Patriarch at 
their head, were exhilarated some way. 

"We lost most of our material, and are indebted to the 'Herald' for 
the use of their press and type to get up the extra. 

"Phoenix-like, the town is rising from its ashes. Another Empire Ho- 
tel is now in operation, and the carpenter's hammer is heard in all parts 
of the burnt district, repairing by temporary sheds the loss until bricks 
and other substantial edifices can replace them. 

"The streets will be widened, better houses go up, and on the whole 
we expect to see a much better and handsomer town spring up as Auburn 
No. 2." 

Our optimistic editor, after enumerating seventy-six ol the main fire 
sufferers and giving an estimate of their losses, comments further, under 
the title "At Their Old Stands," as follows: 

".Many of our citizens have resumed business, in temporary Struc- 
tures, at their old stands, as near as we can ascertain, as follows: Wickis 
Drug Store, Oberdeener's Book Store, Orleans Hotel, Empire Hotel, ECeeh 
ner's Bakery, Crescent City Livery Stable, Van Mater's Tin Shop, Good- 
kind's Confectionary, Wells", Fargo & Co., Hyneman's Clothing Store. New- 



136 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

man & Co.'s Clothing Store, Parkinson & Co., Geo. AYillment, Robt. Gor- 
don, and S. E. Rousin's Meat Market. Mr. Echols, of the National, has 
opened at H. R. Hawkins' residence. Credit, of the Gem Restaurant, will 
be found at the Methodist Church ; the Temple Saloon is at Allen & Co.'s 
Livery Stable ; Geo. Stephens has erected a temporary stable for his livery 
barn on the south side of the hill above the Crescent City Stable ; the Law- 
yers and Physicians are at the Court House ; the Pacific Express Co.'s 
Office, Telegraph Office and Post Office, at Mr. Martin's residence ; the 
Placer Herald and Placer Press in the blacksmith shop just opposite. Those 
who want to shave will find Stevens' Saloon somewhere on the side of the 
hill in the rear of the Orleans." 

The thrifty editor of the Placer Press comes out on June 16th, 1855, 
with a paper of full size, one sheet, one side, six columns, under a sub- 
head, "Published Under Difficulties." On June 23, 1855, No. 4 of the Press 
is issued complete, as it started. 

The Placer Herald of June 9. 1855, has a similar description of the 
fire of June 4, the heading being "Auburn in Ashes. Loss over $200,000. 
Eighty houses consumed." The editor, Tabb Mitchell, under the heading 
"Confusion," says : 

"Our office is all confusion. We occupy a portion of the blacksmith 
shop situated on the ravine, and editorials, such as they be, are writ- 
ten amid the delectable neighing of horses, sound of hammers, and noises 
generally. Office in pie — type, paper, books, bed-clothes, chairs, a mixture ; 
and thus we issue our paper this week, and perhaps we shall have to do 
so the next No. ; but in ten days we shall have a new office and go ahead 
again." 

In a comment the editor saj r s : 

"The time occupied in the burning was one hour and twenty-five min- 
utes. The town has gone, what of that! In twelve months we will have 
a prettier and much better one." 

The fire was such a serious one, the citizens petitioned the supervisors 
then in session to aid in keeping the center block or plaza free from build- 
ings. They passed the following : 

"Ordered, that the space existing between the line of ground formerly 
occupied by the centre block, lying between the Empire and Samuel Hyne- 
man's Store, Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Office, and the property heretofore oc- 
cupied by Morrison, Rice, Norcross and John Echols, be and the same is 
hereby declared a public highway." 

The reader will recall that an injunction was secured from the judge 
at Nicolaus, the county seat of Sutter County, about five years earlier, when 
Auburn was a part of Sutter Count}'', to prevent a saloon-keeper from build- 
ing a saloon in the Plaza, but his building was up before the injunction 
returned. The condition of old, or down-town, Auburn no doubt would 
be much better if the earnest wishes of many good citizens had prevailed 
and the center blocks had never been erected. In their place should stand 
a small park, with flowers and trees, the ravines arched over, plenty of 
room, with better buildings around the square. All these things may yet 
take place, and the old "Dry Diggings" may yet come into their own and 
became an important part of the newer and more beautiful Auburn. 

It has been said that Auburn has a bad fire, on an average, every 
five years. It may have been so in early days ; but since the installation 
of a pipe system, under 150 to 300 feet pressure of water, and the form- 
ing of two volunteer fire companies, while frequent fires may start, they 
are generally put out quickly. Hotels seem to be especially unfortunate. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 137 

About the time the water system was installed, Auburn had seven hotels ; 
there are now only two, but they are large and very good ones. 

The Auburn Poetess 

On April 19, 1854, the Placer Democrat began publication at Auburn. 
It contained four pages and seemed well supplied with advertisements. The 
first issue. No. 1. in the bound volume, is torn, and No. 2 seems to be miss- 
ing, the first complete issue being that of May 3, 1854. J. Shannon & Co. 
seem to be the owners ; and Philip Lynch was the editor. 

One especially noticeable feature of the paper was the poetical verses, 
generally found on the first and fourth pages, beautifully written, some 
with the author's name, some without. Under the title "Poetry," you are 
sure to find something good. The first poem, in what was evidently the 
first issue, is entitled "Approach of May,'' and is unsigned. The lines 
begin : 

"She comes — the varied vernal May! 
Let's haste to gather our Bouquet !" 
and end : 

" 'Tis a sweet theme. 
Which many a muse before has tried ; 
Let none now deem 

The hands profane which touch the lyre ; 
They but essay (it were no crime t' aspire) 
To sing again that oft-sung tale : 
The May Rose and The Nightingale." 
Another was "The Miner's Burial." In the issue of May 3, under the head- 
ing "May," we find : 

"Deceased, sweet May, 
Thou queen of flowers, 
In vernal robes 
To dress the bowers." 



And at the close : 



"Month to every poet dear, 
Fairest unveiling of the year 



Handmaid who, with leafy wing, 
Fans the cheek of wanton Spring." 

In the first column of the issue dated May 24, 1854. appears the note: 
"The following extract is from a collection of poems in the hands of Moore 
& Anderson, book publishers, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and shortly to be issued." 
A beautiful poem of six stanzas follows, entitled "The Seasons of the Flow- 
ers." This is signed "Eulalie," the nom de plume of Mrs. Mary Fee Shan- 
non, the wife of John Shannon, publisher of the paper. She was called the 
"Auburn Poetess," and her charming verses not only appear in the Placer 
Democrat, but in other publications as well. Besides being the author of 
many beautiful poems, she wrote for the Daily Times of Cincinnati and for 
other papers. But more about the poetess, later. 

The Placer Democrat was a paper representing the so-called Broderick 
wing of the Democratic party of Placer County; and when that faction 'was 
beaten the paper ceased, on September 27, 1854, and was succeeded by the 
Auburn Whig. 

John Shannon seemed to have a roving disposition, and was a starter 
of several papers, the Calaveras Chronicle being one of them. Alter the death 
of the Placer Democrat. .Mr. Shannon established the Delta of Visalia, in Tul- 
are County, a "locality distinguished for the intensity of feeling of it- 



138 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Democratic majority, and Shannon was fierce in his onslaughts on his op- 
ponents." The surroundings, no doubt, were congenial to his sharp edito- 
rials against his political opponents. It is reported that during the early- 
period of the Rebellion the newspaper disputes at Visalia became so fierce 
that one of the local papers was mobbed, the paper and office destroyed, 
and the building razed to the ground. It is said that Federal soldiers were 
called to preserve order. 




s 



"EULALIE," THE "AUBURN POETESS" 

A Republican paper was also established in Visalia, and very soon the 
fireworks began, and the controversy became very bitter. On November 
14, 1860, Shannon entered the office of his rival, and with a large pistol 
struck Morris, one of the proprietors of the opposition paper, on the head, 
knocking him senseless to the floor and cutting open his scalp. Morris 
soon recovered consciousness and drew his pistol. When Shannon re- 
treated towards his office, Morris followed, and with one hand wiping the 
streaming blood from his eyes, fired and killed his assailant. Morris was 
exonerated on his examination by the magistrate. 

The writer now returns to "Eulalie," the gentler figure in the Shan- 
non household, and surely the sadder. She died in childbirth in Auburn 
in 1854, and was buried in the "Old Cemetery" near Captain Radcliff's 
residence. The cemetery was close to the Auburn public schools, and 
about the year 1893 it was determined to petition the State legislature for 
the passage of an act allowing the removal of all bodies and remaining 
bones of deceased persons to a location in the Odd Fellows' large ceme- 
tery in the northern part of the city. The act was passed, and all bodies and 
remains, with the headstones, were removed to the new location. The old 
cemetery was plowed and leveled down, sown to grass, and improved, and 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 139 

in time, with its fine live-oat trees, became Sierra Park; but it was mam- 
years before the school children could lie persuaded to use the place as 
a playground. 

The remains of the poetess were buried in the extreme northeast cor- 
ner of the Odd Fellows' Cemetery. While not so considered, and not in- 
tended to lie such, the location soon became a sort of neglected "Potter's 
Field." The newly made graves settled, and the headstones soon leaned 
badlv over the sunken earth, the headstone of the poetess along with the 
rest. The headstone is of marble and bears the simple words : 

EULALIE 
Erected by J. M. Reeves 

Now comes the interesting part of the tale. On June 8. 1924, Mr, 
William R. Fee, a relative of a prominent railroad man of California, called 
on the writer. He and his family were from Los Angeles, and were driv- 
ing by motor to Lake Tahoe. He is a prominent banker of Alhambra, 
and this being his first visit to Northern California, he had determined to 
find the grave of his relative, Mary Fee Shannon, a writer, formerly of 
Ohio, and known as "Eulalie." 

A visit to her present grave and to the locality of her first grave (now 
Sierra Park), in Auburn, was soon made. Numerous camera views were 
taken of the headstone, now standing, and. of the approximate spot it once 
occupied in the little park ; and then a long night message to relatives in 
Cincinnati, Ohio, told the sad story, and conveyed the news that the grave 
of "Eulalie" had been found after seventy years of doubt. 

The following on "Eulalie" was taken from the Overland Monthly of 
December, 1919. The article was written by Boutwell Dunlap, and is entitled 
"Eulalie, California's First Woman Poet." W r e quote : 

"Forgotten and unknown by historians of California letters, 'Eulalie,' 
pseudonym of Mary Eulalie (Fee) Shannon, seems to have been a California 
woman author, the first to have had a volume of her poems published. At the 
request of Librarian Joseph Rowell of the University of California, I make a 
biographical note of this priority for permanent preservation in the Overland 
Monthly. If her verse had little merit, its existence is at least a literary curi- 
osity. 

"In looking over, last spring, some of my historical notes and collections, 
made some years ago upon the mining section of the Sierras in the fifties, 
I found a reference to the Placer Herald of March 18, 1854, containing the 
statement that John Shannon, Jr., had on January 31, 1854, at New Richmond, 
Ohio, married Mary E. Fee, who had contributed many graceful poems to 
Western periodicals over the nom de plume of 'Eulalie,' and that Shannon 
planned to return to California. A citation to the Auburn Whig of December 
30, 1854, noted her brief obituary, with nothing of her antecedents. A Placer 
county history without detail barely speaks of her poetry, but not her book! 

"There is no mention of her in the literary histories of California, b} the 
official literary historian of the Stale, nor in other histories of California litera- 
ture, nor Pacific Coast anthologies. Librarians, booksellers, and collectors ol 
Californiana told me they had never heard of her residence in California. The 
California State Library, which has not listed her in its printed names of Cali- 
fornia authors, referred me to 'Literarv Women of California Who Have 
Passed Away,' an article in the Sacramento Wednesday Press of March 11, 
1903. This was written by Winfield J. Davis, the Sacramento historian and 
native of the counts' of 'Eulalie's' residence in California. It contains a 



140 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

repetition of her obituary from the Auburn Whig, and the assertion 'Of her 
there is very little available.' 

"A hurried and incomplete examination of Eastern publications reveals 
she was not unknown and forgotten in the East. William Cushing's 'Initials 
and Pseudonyms' has the following: 'Shannon, Mrs. Mary Eulalie (Fee), 
1824-55 (sic). Eulalie. An American poet, of Auburn, Cal.' Joseph Sabin's 
'Dictionary of Books Relating to America From Its Discovery to the Present 
Time' lists her volume of poems under her married name and gives her pseu- 
donym. 

"I used antiquarian methods in searching old files and following clues, 
and located, after much correspondence, her nephew, Dr. Frank Fee, a physi- 
cian of Cincinnati, Ohio, to whom I am indebted for data on her early life. J, v - 

"Mary Eulalie Fee was born in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, February 9^ 
1824, daughter of William Robert Fee, a native of Scott County, Kentucky,' 
born in the pioneer days of 1793. She was thus one of the first few women 
poets of Southern birth, although I do not find her in Lucian Lamar Knight's 
valuable biographical dictionary of Southern literary people in the 'Library of 
Southern Literature.' Her mother, Elizabeth Dutten Carver, born at Castle- 
ton, Rutland County, Vermont, in 1795, was of the seventh generation from 
John Carver, first Governor of Plymouth. The mother and her parents crossed 
the Alleghanies in covered wagons and settled at Marietta, Ohio, in 1812, 
where, at seventeen, she became a school teacher, and is said to have been a 
'great student of history, Shakespeare and the Bible.' 

"Miss Fee was educated by the best private tutors in Cincinnati. Among 
her intimates were Tosso, perhaps the greatest violinist of the Middle West 
of the period ; Alice and Phoebe Gary, and Henry Warrels, a great guitarist. 
Her home was at 'Dove Cottage,' built by her father at New Richmond, Ohio. 

"Her husband, John Shannon, Jr., a California editor of the early fifties, 
was afterward one of the publishers of the Calaveras Chronicle. He estab- 
lished the Visalia Delta, a Democratic paper, in an intensely Southern set- 
tlement. As the result of a bitter newspaper controversy with William 
Gouverneur Morris — whose name suggests a connection with a talented 
family — editor of a Republican publication of that locality, he was shot to 
death by Morris in 1860 in a violent encounter. Shannon returned to the 
East in 1853 and married Miss Fee on January 31, 1854, going immediately to 
California, where I have a record of her residence as early as April 10, 1854. 

"Her volume of poems, 'Buds, Blossoms and Leaves,' a well-printed 
book of vii, 194 pages, 4-H by 7 inches, has this title page : 'Buds, Blossoms 
and Leaves ; Poems. By Eulalie. Cincinnati ; Moore, Wilstach & Keys. 
MDCCCLIV.' If there were no other evidence, its preface, dated June, 
1854, indicates she was a resident of California when the book left the press. 

"None of the poems show a California influence, and all were probably 
written before her departure. One is entitled 'To Frank — In California.' 
'Lines' was 'suggested by the death of James D. Turner, who died in 
Nevada City, California, August 4th, 1851,' according to a note. 'The Desert 
Burial' resulted from the receipt of a letter on the death on the desert of an 
immigrant to California. The poems must have had a considerable circula- 
tion in this State, because to this day they are often found there in second- 
hand book shops. 

"Depending upon the definition of the term, it may be declared she was 
hardly a California poet. She calls herself 'a Californian' in her corre- 
spondence with Eastern newspapers. 

"From a scrapbook of her newspaper writings, I find she contributed 
a series, 'Travel Scenes,' written for the Daily Times of Cincinnati, after her 
arrival' in California, beginning in April, 1854, and extending to December, 
1854, the last date a few weeks before her death. In this scrapbook there 
are nine columns by her, 'Leaves From the Diary of a Californian.' . . ' 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 141 

There is also a story. 'Frank Waterford, a Tale of the Mines,' written for the 
Placer Democrat, published at Auburn by her husband. Following is a 
three-column story. 'A Lost Waif, Mining, in California,' dated Auburn, 
October, 1854. . . All this is among the first California story-writing. 

"In this scrapbook there is an announcement from the Daily Democratic 
State Journal, once published in Sacramento by the father of Joseph D. 
Redding, of a lecture by her on 'Home.' delivered at McNulty's Music Hall. 

"Her California home was at the Junction House, in the Sierras, a stage 
station two miles from Auburn, where branched in the fifties the stage 
line from Sacramento to Dutch Flat and Yankee Jim's, one of the largest 
and liveliest mining camps in California. The retiring and idealistic poet. I 
learn from a pioneer, was the object of pride, love and interest to hundreds 
of voung mining adventurers who daily passed the station, and her fame 
became wide in the mines. 

"Dying in December, 1854. her obituary in the Auburn AYhig says, 
'She was generally known in this State as "Eulalie." : Her tombstone in an 
abandoned cemetery in Auburn had nothing on it but the word 'Eulalie.' 
Ambrose Bierce makes this graveyard one of the scenes of his story, 'The 
Realm of the Unreal, ' and says the delapidated burial ground was a 'dis- 
honor to the living, a calumny on the dead, a blasphemy against God.' It 
was removed a few years ago, and it seems no one knows what became of 
'Eulalie's' remains." 

The Letter That Started Things 

Law Offices, Geo.. Cadwalader. 301 J Street, 

Sacramento, Oct. 31, 1883. 
"Chas. A. Tuttle, Esq., 

"Dear Sir: I have had in my possession for some time, with the usual 
instructions to collect, nearly the whole of the bonded indebtedness of the 
town of Auburn, which, I believe, includes the real and personal prop- 
erty lying, as I recollect, within one mile of the Court House. I suppose 
I know the reasons which actuated your people in refusing to further ac- 
knowledge the validity of this indebtedness and I may not be mistaken in 
supposing that time enough has elapsed for them to see that sooner or later 
such indebtedness has to be taken care of. I would greatly prefer in room of 
the litigation proposed that I should be met by an influential committee of 
your citizens, with a view of ascertaining whether or not some satisfactory 
basis of adjustment could not be reached. 

"I write this to you as an old-time resident and property holder of 
Auburn, with a view of having it exhibited and answered. 

"The bonds I hold for Eastern clients, and I devoutly trust that some 
mutually agreeable conclusion is possible. 

"Very truly yours, George Cadwalader." 

The older residents of Auburn knew what the letter meant, but it took 
a meeting of the citizens at the courtroom and a full explanation before 
they realized that Auburn and its people were about to be sued in the 
United States court fur the bonds of the heretofore city of Auburn, with 
accumulated annual interest, for a total sum of about $80,000. The fact 
was. that Auburn had been incorporated by act of legislature on March 
29, 1860, and that to aid the Sacramento, Placer and Nevada Railroad Com- 
pany it had voted $50,000 of city bonds, with eight per cent interest cou- 
pons attached, and neither bonds nor interest had been paid. 

It was explained at the meeting that a United States judge had held 
that when a city had legally executed bonds, and they had fallen into 
hands of innocent holders for value, the bond- could be sued on; and if the 
disincorporated community refused to pay. as in our case, the United States 



142 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

court could appoint assessors and tax collectors and enforce the collection 
of taxes to pay the bonds. In some Eastern city — Memphis, as I recall it — 
these drastic measures were followed out in order to collect on a judge- 
ment in the United States court. 

The citizens got busy ; other meetings were called. Some protested 
they had objected and voted against the Auburn railroad bonds. The writer, 
with the receiver of the above letter, was appointed a committee to in- 
vestigate. The writer bought of Isaac Stonecipher of Lincoln the bound 
volumes of the Placer Weekly Herald (1852 to 1872) for $50. Search was 
made and the facts were found to be as follows : In 1859 the Sacramento, 
Placer & Nevada Railroad Company was incorporated, the road to start at 
Sacramento and run via Folsom and Auburn to Nevada City. The road 
was constructed over the American River on an imposing single-span truss 
bridge, and reached a point called Auburn Station, about six miles below 
Auburn, the station being where the J. J. Brennan fruit orchard is now lo- 
cated, not far from where the old King stone farmhouse stands. 

A beautiful certificate of stock lies before me. Although blank, it has 
the name of the president of the railroad company, J. E. Hale, signed to 
it, apparently ready to be filled out quickly and delivered. The central 
picture is a fine sample of the lithographer's art. It represents two very 
high and long trestle works, on each end of the bridge truss, with an 
engine, baggage car and two passenger cars. The engine has an enor- 
mously big and high smokestack, which emits a long, black, rolling mass 
of smoke. Near by is a public road and wire suspension-bridge. Low 
down, on a level with the highway, are the abutments of stone for both 
bridges, heavy and substantial-looking; while the towers for cables of the 
highway bridge are tall and very solid in appearance. Both bridges give 
an impression of solidity, both for the railroad company and for Sacra- 
mento County — but the railroad company got stuck at Auburn Station. 

Auburn, in a few years, was to have another railroad pass her doors — 
an overland road, a government-aided railroad, which had for its main pro- 
moters men of great financial ability but of modest wealth themselves. 
They so controlled the money markets of California that Robinson and 
Bayerque, the main promoters of the smaller road, never could go beyond 
Auburn Station. That railroad, and its light 60-pound rails and 5-foot 
guage, made much history for Auburn and Placer County, and even our 
adjoining county Eldorado, and its county seat, Placerville, as will appear 
further on. Gen. W. H. L. Barnes, of San Francisco, who was the attor- 
ney for Robinson and Bayerque when their railroad was in financial dis- 
tress, recited to the writer their troubles and disappointments. 

The State legislature, in 1860, passed an act authorizing the people of 
Auburn, to vote on the proposition to subscribe $50,000 of the stock of the 
Sacramento, Placer & Nevada Railroad, to be paid when the road was com- 
pleted and in working order to within thirteen miles of Auburn. This was 
a very popular measure in Auburn, and was strongly advocated by the 
papers. The election occurred on the 4th of June. The vote was 160 yeas, 
and not one in opposition. This report of a unanimous vote for the bonds 
quieted those who claimed they had been wise and voted against the pro- 
position. 

When it became evident that the Sacramento road via Folsom never 
would reach Auburn, the citizens hastily concluded to disincorporate. This 
the accomodating legislature did for them on March 30, 1868. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 143 

The subscription for the railroad bonds was to be paid by the bonds 
of the town of Auburn — in value, dollar for dollar, payable in twenty years, 
interest eight per cent. John Boggs, as tax collector, collected the taxes 
on said bonded indebtedness for several years and then ceased. There was 
a sort of feeling of justification for this, on the ground that as the rail- 
road did not come nearer than six miles of Auburn, the town was excused 
from paying its bonds. 

But other side issues began to appear. Robinson and Bayerque had 
mortgaged the rails of their road and the rolling stock for money to equip 
their road. Foreclosure proceedings were started and judgement obtained. 
J. E. Hale was mayor of Auburn, and also president of the railroad. He 
accepted service of summons in the foreclosure, and aided all he could in 
allowing the iron rails to be removed from Placer County. He had the 
agreement in writing that the Auburn railroad bonds would be given up 
and the debt canceled if he and the Auburn citizens would not obstruct 
the removal of the rails and the railroad personal property. Another rea- 
son was that the Central Pacific Railway Company would soon pass 
through Auburn and on to the East — pass entirely through Placer County for 
about 100 miles. 

Robinson and Bayerque had offers of liberal assistance from Placerville 
and Eldorado County to build the railroad from Folsom East through Pla- 
cerville and Eldorado County, at least to the rich mines at Virginia City. 

The Central Pacific Railway people were not asleep to this danger. 
Rails were costly and it took many months to bring them from New York 
or London around Cape Horn. The longer they could keep the Robinson 
and Bayerque railroad material tied up in Placer the less distance the rail- 
road could get up the mountains toward the rich Virginia City and Carson 
mines. Every obstruction seemed legitimate. The people were inflamed 
by speeches to the effect that they were being robbed of their road, already 
built to Auburn Station. The Central Pacific Railway was called the 
"Dutch Flat Swindle," and it was insisted that it would never go farther 
East than that town; the Robinson and Bayerque rails must not be removed. 

Griffith Griffith told the writer that he at that time conducted a small 
stone quarry on the Sacramento, Placer & Nevada Railroad line, and that he 
was presented with two shares of its stock gratis, and was provided with an 
attorney to bring suit to prevent the rails from being removed. The Au- 
burn Grays were sent down to overawe the shotgun rough element brought 
up from San Francisco to aid the railroad men in taking up the rails. As 
fast as the rails were taken up, the track-men were arrested by the Placer 
County sheriff; and they were as promptly bailed out by J. E. Hale, per- 
sonally, on the promise of having the Auburn railroad bonds delivered up. 

Wellington Swezey once told me of a night expedition he was induced 
to take. He was young and daring: and no real harm was intended — jusl 
a lark. The Central Pacific Railway had reached Newcastle, lie rode with 
a young friend, a railroad man, in a buggy to Newcastle alter dark, se- 
cured some spike-pullers and bars from the Central Pacific Railway sheds, 
and drove down towards Folsom. The tun railroad engines of the oppo- 
sition road generally stopped at Auburn Station through the night, and th< 
object of the expedition was to pull up the spikes and remove the rails 
in some level place, so that the engines would run off the track when com- 
ing down early in the morning. There was no expressed intention to in- 
jure the engineers or firemen; the purpose was simply to run the engines on 



144 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

the track and cause delay. The rails were taken up ; but Swezey said he 
felt easier when he learned that both engines were in Folsom that night. 

After much worry and great expense, the iron rails were taken up and 
laid down in Eldorado County, and the Robinson and Bayerque railroad 
got as far as Shingle Springs towards Placerville, which town, like Auburn, 
had voted bonds — $75,000 I believe — to bring the Robinson and Bayerque 
road to that place, and possibly up over the summit and in reach of the 
rich mines of Nevada State. Later, Placerville was disincorporated, like 
Auburn, and got along in local affairs without city trustees for many years. 

But let us come back to Auburn and the numerous court-house meet- 
ings, and to the letter that started things. A committee was appointed 
and raised $600 as attorney's fees and incidental funds. The citizens sub- 
scribed on a percentage basis as they were assessed on the county asses- 
sor's books. They were too badly scared to let "George" do all the sub- 
scribing. 

At one of the meetings Judge Hale recalled that he had received a let- 
ter from Robinson and Bayerque, or the parties who held the Auburn bonds, 
stating that if he, Hale, would assist, as mayor of Auburn and in other 
legal ways, and help the railroad people in getting the rails and other prop- 
erty out of Placer County, they would return the Auburn bonds. The 
meeting was adjourned, and the judge found the nearly forgotten letter 
in an old trunk in his wood-house. Negotiations were opened with the 
writers or their representatives. The answer came back that the citizens 
of Auburn had caused them an expense of $3500 in gold by fighting the 
removal of the rails ; the shotgun men also cost them that sum, or in all 
about $10,500 in currency ; and if he, Hale, would pay over that sum, the 
$50,000 of Auburn bonds would still be returned. Judge Hale reminded 
the parties how he had befriended them under very adverse circumstances, 
when it was very unpopular to do so. 

The whole matter was adjusted by Auburn agreeing to incorporate 
once more and issue $10,500 in bonds. This was done midst great re- 
joicing on May 2, 1888. New bonds for $10,500 were issued; the old bonds 
were returned ; and Auburn has continued as a city of the sixth class ever 
since — and unafraid. Those 60-pound rails have, however, caused worry and 
sorrow to other people, as I will briefly relate. 

In 1890, the writer, as Assemblyman from Placer County, sat in the 
Assembly chambers across the aisle from Assemblyman Henry Dibble, 
of San Francisco. L. H. Valentine, who afterwards became United States 
district attorney for the Southern District, was a member of the Assem- 
bly from Los Angeles City. He was very friendly to Eldorado County, 
having been born and raised in that county, I believe. Valentine soon in- 
formed me that Mr. Dibble had introduced a bill which he believed was 
aimed at Placerville. It was a very innocent little bill, which provided, 
in effect, that when any city, heretofore having been incorporated, was 
afterwards disincorporated, in such case the Governor of this State might 
appoint five competent citizens of said town as trustees thereof, which 
trustees might sue or be sued, legally, as if they had been regularly elected. 
The writer gives its contents from memory ; but in substance, such was the 
import of the bill. 

The writer had agreed to help Mr. Valentine and Eldorado County all he 
could, and to be especially vigilant so that the bill should not be called 
up for second reading when Mr. Valentine was out of the chamber. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 145 

Soon after, when Mr. Valentine had been called out of the room, the 
seemingly innocent bill came up with a lot of others for second reading. 
The writer rushed out and found Mr. Valentine, who came in — and the fire- 
works started ; it appeared there was an agreement between the two mem- 
bers that the bill was not to be called up in the absence of Mr. Valentine. 
The whole object of the bill then came to the surface. It was aimed at 
Placerville. It was intended to pave the way to sue Placerville for about 
875,000 and interest for aid to the Robinson and Bayerque railroad in reach- 
ing Placerville ; but those 60-pound rails only aided the railroad in get- 
ting to Shingle Springs. The outcome of the matter was that conferences 
were held between prominent citizens of Placerville and the bondholders ; 
and it was agreed that Placerville should reincorporate and issue new bonds. 
A compromise figure was agreed upon — $30,000, I was informed — and the 
old $75,000 bonds were given up. 

The writer fell heir to the Cadwalader letter, but he never learned what 
became of the $600 subscribed for attorney's fees. 

First Memorial-Day Services in Auburn 

The first Memorial-Day services in Auburn were held on Sunday, 
May 30, 1880. The legislature of California had a few years previously 
decreed that May 30 of each year should be one of the recognized legal 
holidays of the State. This day, commonly called Memorial Day, or Decor- 
ation Day, was to be observed in honor of the fallen Union soldiers, who 
died during the War of the Rebellion. The writer had attended the exer- 
cises, as carried out in the Eastern States, and also had observed how the 
custom was observed in the national cemetaries in the South, and how 
the Southern people honored their dead on May 28 of each year. Sweet 
flowers and precious memories were entwined together on those last days 
of May, and from the greatest general to the humblest drummer boy the 
fallen heroes each received his meed of praise and affection. 

Such good women as Mrs. D. W. Lubeck, Mrs. George Reamer, Mrs. 
J. R. Crandall, and others, requested the writer to carry out. as near as 
possible, an imitation of the growing popular Decoration Day exercises 
for the fallen Union soldiers, principally for the benefit of the young boys 
and girls. The ladies furnished the white sheeting and flags, and the older 
school girls and young ladies willingly sewed on the ivy leaves and ever- 
green lettering and mottoes suitable for the day and occasion. 

Several events of interest were connected with that first Memorial-Day 
service. There was another old soldier, not included in the published list, 
who marched with the ex-soldiers to the cemetery, an old soldier by the 
name of Hughes, living west of Auburn. He claimed to have been a soldier 
in President Jackson's time, in the first Seminole War, in Florida, in the 
year 1835. He became imbued with the idea that he ought to have a pen- 
sion like the Civil War veterans, and persuaded the writer to assist him in 
his efforts; but under the pension laws then in force, and due to the I 
of witnesses, and lapse of time, the effort failed. 

Another incident of that day was the following: Marly in the after- 
noon, while the ex-soldiers were falling in line to march to the cemetery, 
a comparatively young man appeared and asked permission to fall in with 
the ex-soldiers, lie said he wanted to be fair and use no deceit, and state 1 
that he "fit" on the other side, that his name was Archibald Brinkley, and 
that he had enlisted as a young man in a Virginia regiment, and had foui 



146 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

in the Army of the Potomac under General Lee. Young Brinkley was quite 
tall and had dark eyes and hair. He fell into line and seemed to enjoy the 
companionship of soldiers once more. He was a quiet, steady man, and 
lived and worked for some time with the Collins family near Auburn. He 
told little about himself or his family — simply that he came from the South 
and had a married sister with a family there. Archibald Brinkley worked for 
the owners of the Auburn Orange Association for a time, and then drifted 
up into the mountains and worked in the mines. Later he worked for the 
Southern Pacific Railroad Company as a section man and in construction 
work. 

About the year 1879, while Dr. R. F. Rooney was public administrator 
of Placer County and the writer was his legal adviser, the local superin- 
tendent of the County Hospital informed the public administrator that a 
man by the name of Brinkley had died at the hospital ; that he had been 
sick some weeks, and was supposed to be an indigent ; and that the hospital 
authorities were about to bury the body in the Potter's Field, but in exam- 
ining his clothes they found in his vest pocket two certificates of deposit 
aggregating $1400. O. W. Hollenbeck, the banker, was interviewed and 
said the certificates were legal, when signed by the proper person, the money 
being left on deposit in the bank. The public administrator took charge 
of the estate, and the body was given a more decent burial than was at 
first intended, being interred in the Odd Fellows' Cemetery. Brinkley was 
treated as a pay patient at the County Hospital. A bill for his nursing, 
board and clothing was filed, as also a doctor's bill to Dr. T. M. Todd, both 
of which bills were allowed ; and after all fees were paid there remained 
$965.40 in money. 

The attorney asked Judge Myres to allow him to try and find Brink- 
ley's heirs, so the money would go to his sister, if living, or, to her children, 
if dead. The request was granted, a'nd the search began. No letters or 
writing could be found, except his name on some receipts, his identification 
signature in the bank, and his name and affidavit in the county clerk's 
office as he registered as a voter, part of the time as a Democrat, part of 
the time as a Republican. His name and affidavits were all the clue he left. 

Brief duplicate notices were prepared, giving his name and approximate 
age, and stating that a small estate was under charge of the superior court 
of Placer County. This letter was sent to the Governors of Virginia, North 
Carolina and Georgia, and results were awaited. Soon the letters (sixteen 
in all) began to come in from the South and West. Some were amusing, 
notwithstanding the general sadness of the letters. One sister felt sure it 
was her brother who had gone to California after the war, and who had 
lost his leg at Gettysburg; another writer thought it was a relative who 
had lost his left arm at Fair Oaks, or "Seven Pines," as it is called in 
Virginia. All letters asked for full particulars — and especially how much 
money was left. 

A general letter was now prepared, saying the unfortunate man was 
possessed of a completed body when he died, and that we were hunting for 
his true heirs, who could produce proofs of heirship. Finally, a lawyer in 
Richmond, Va., wrote that he believed he could find the true heirs ; that his 
father, in the early part of the war, raised a regiment of Virginians who 
fought through the war, and that later Brinkley moved into Gates County, 
N. C, where there were still many families of the same name, and one in 
particular, in which a sister, who . had died leaving nine children, had a 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 147 

brother who had later gone West and finally to California. The Richmond 
colonel, father of the writer, had died ; and the writer felt sure that as soon 
as private papers of his father, and especially the Confederate government 
records of his father's regiment, could be examined, he could identify the 
ex-soldier. In due time the proofs came, and the balance of the estate was 
distributed to the nephews and nieces of Archibald Brinkley, part directlv 
to those who were of age, and part to the minors through their guardians, 
$107.26^3 going to each heir. 

Another interesting incident of that first Memorial Day at Auburn was 
the decorating of Confederate soldiers' graves as well as those of the Union 
soldiers, though not officially. It came about as follows: William M. 
Crutcher, a stanch Democrat from Kentucky, an old resident of Auburn, 
came to the writer as the procession was forming in front of the American 
Hotel, and asked if all the graves of the buried soldiers in the cemetery 
were to be decorated. He was informed that only those of the Union sol- 
diers were to be decorated, as the services were to be as near like the cus- 
tomary national Decoration Day memorial services as possible. Mr. 
Crutcher pleaded that all the graves should be treated alike. Some of the 
buried soldiers had lived in Auburn. One had been a faithful county officer, 
had gone back home and enlisted in a home State regiment of the South, 
then came back to Auburn after the war, and had died in Auburn. He 
pleaded that they were all Americans, were brave men, and even here in 
the parade Mexican soldiers, Union soldiers, and ex-soldiers of the South 
were all fraternizing and marching to the common cemetery to honor ths 
dead soldiers of part of the States. 

While the writer was born and raised in the North, and held the strong- 
est convictions as to the right and the wrong of the War of the Rebellion — 
that the Rebellion was altogether wrong in principle, wicked, and the handi- 
work of artful politicians — yet from family connections he was sympathetic 
towards all the officers and men of both armies. He had more cousins in 
the Southern army than in the Northern. All of them were Northern-born, 
but most of them moved to the South when young. One became a general, 
another an admiral; and two brothers had fought shoulder to shoulder in 
General Scott's army in Mexico. The war caught all the younger of these 
men in the South with their wives and families. This resulted in the older 
of them, West Pointers and naval officers, remaining with the Union forces 
and fighting against their own brothers and cousins in the South. 

Mr. Crutcher was earnest, and suggested this plan: He, on his own 
responsibility, would go to the cemetery a little in advance of the four 
flower-girls, and would suggest to them that the committee marking the 
soldiers' graves had omitted to mark some of them with crosses, would 
point out to them six other graves of brave soldiers, and request that they 
also be decorated. The writer was detained at the Plaza for a time in for- 
warding all the marchers, buggies and carriages. Marshal Steven Ridley 
Chazotte was much exercised in his zeal to have the school children keep 
step like the old soldiers. As the parade passed on, Air. Crutcher, or 
"Billie," as he was called by his close companions, wore a broad smile, tor 
he had succeeded in having six Confederate graves well decorated by the 
flower-girls. 

It is the sneere prayer of all true Americans that from Armistice Day. 
November 11, 1918, forward, there will be but one Decoration Day for all 
American soldiers of this our common country. 



148 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

The writer once heard the following story relating to the long, bloody 
War of the Rebellion ; a story of a taunt by an Englishman to a Union sol- 
dier, and the soldier's answer. The Englishman asked why it was that all 
the Northern States, with unlimited money and resources, with world com- 
merce unhampered, with nearly twice as many soldiers, a great navy, and 
apparently all the worldly advantages in their favor, yet required four long, 
weary years to conquer the nine States of the South. The cool answer was, 
"We were fighting Americans." 

Grand Army Posts and Relief Corps 

In a few years regular Posts of the Grand Army of the Republic 
were organized in Newcastle, Auburn and other towns of the county ; and 
as auxiliaries, the Ladies' Relief Corps supplemented the good work of the 
Posts in charity and good works. 

The Post at Auburn, Belmont No. 101, was organized on January 22, 
1886, and at one time had a large membership. They have a plot of ground 
on the western slope of the Odd Fellows' Cemetery, where their patriotic 
memorial services are still held. There is a fine flag-pole, and some can- 
non set apart by the Federal government. Often a thousand or more people 
still gather on that dedicated spot, on May 30 of each year, to show their 
devotion to those who fought that the Union might be preserved. 

HIGH SPOTS IN THE CITY'S PROGRESS 

The writer does not purpose here to give a consecutive chronological 
account of Auburn and its growth, but rather an occasional glimpse to show 
how its progress has kept pace with the growth of the county in general. 
Unfortunately, Auburn never had a pay-roll like Lincoln, Penryn, Rocklin 
and, latterly, Roseville. She grew slowly, as the county grew, in business, 
population and wealth. Many early efforts were made to build up enter- 
prises, but these were generally either killed by harsh criticisms or failed 
because ill-timed or improperly located. 

One of the failures was a cannery, built on the site of the present 
Auburn Hotel. Its non-success was mainly due to lack of fruit and to its 
being located on a good hotel site in the center of upper Auburn ; so a good 
hotel it finally became. 

Next was an attempt to locate a woolen mill. Ex-Congressman Luttrell 
would have moved his woolen mills here, but met discouragement from our 
own people. We had the drop of ditch water, the power, the electric lights, 
thousands of sheep going to and returning from the mountain ranges, and 
a good site on the edge of town ; but scoffing indifference killed the plan. 

Next, an effort was made to locate the Home for the Feeble-Minded, a 
public institution ; but it went to Glen Ellen. Some of the old-timers laughed 
and said we had enough half-crazy people in and near Auburn already ; so 
the State commissioners went elsewhere for a site. 

Then a small knitting-mill for Alaska goods was advocated, but no 
encouragement was offered.- Some wide-awake town got the small factory 
and soon had thirty-five girls and women at work on warm Alaska-knitted 
goods. 

Next was a State Trades School. A fine site of several hundred _acres 
was bonded, the most liberal terms for water and electric power were 
offered, and railroad switching tracks were adjacent to the land; but politics 
got mixed in the matter, and a most promising proposition went by the board. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 149 

Unfortunately, the very configuration of Auburn, as the city was laid 
out in the early days, was against progress. The old-timers were down in 
the older part of town ; and there were just so many corner lots and good 
store sites. 'New-comers were not cordially received. The streets were 
steep and narrow towards the only railroad depot at that time, and also 
where the higher and comparatively level building sites lay. The proposi- 
tions for new and better streets running to the upper parts of town were 
frowned down. Efforts were made by some of the most progressive to 
improve their surroundings by getting glass fronts, better sidewalks, and 
better streets : but these forward-looking citizens were met by their land- 
lords and neighbors with the slogan of civic stagnation, "It is good enough; 
we have been here for forty years, and we have done well enough ; and if 
you are not satisfied, move out." The dare was taken. The W. G. Lee 
Company's department store ; McLaughlin, the druggist ; Anderson Bros., 
jewelers ; and a furniture store quietly bargained for the building of up-to- 
date store rooms on the large triangular place in the upper part of town. 
Home building lots were being offered for sale at reasonable price's near by. 
In April. 1906, five stores were emptied down town, and the new center 
block was occupied. W. A. Freeman, on his hotel bus, calling "All aboard 
for Auburn" to witnesses, jurors, and country business men at the county 
seat, drove the now awakened down-towners nearly crazy. They saw ruin 
and a deserted old town before them. They had scoffed at the inevitable 
too long. 

"Dog Days" 

Hot August weather is often called "dog days," a time when the dogs 
get the rabies and snarl and bite at their friends and enemies alike. This 
period, as a rule, only lasts a few weeks at most ; but unfortunately for 
Auburn and its healthy growth, civic "dog days" lasted, with certain of its 
citizens, for nearly twenty years. The disease got into social and political 
affairs. Some were even persecuted if they changed their place of residence. 
In fact, the disease has apparently only lately died out, with the passing of 
the older citizens of both parts of town, for the contagious malady laid hold 
of the up-town boomers also when they got in the ascendant so strongly. 
They succeeded in getting better mail facilities, because they deserved them ; 
but they went too far with their rivalry. The new up-town post office, by 
wish or otherwise, was called East Auburn Post Office. Then the up-town 
business men and citizens got the rabies in its most virulent form, consider- 
ing the solidarity and growth of Auburn. The map-makers, in their zeal 
t< > lie correct, located Auburn down the ravine somewhere; then they inserted 
the figure 3, indicative of the distance to the next town. East Auburn ; and 
then the figure 3 between this town, that legally had no existence, and 
Bowman. The hotels, stores, and even banks, had the silly words. "Easl 
Auburn," much too prominent on their stationery. The craze affected 
Auburn and most lines of public service in the whole Slate, and generally 
to the hurt of Auburn. Many business transactions were dated East Auburn, 
a place that had no legal existence. Telegrams were sent from and received 
at a non-existing town. Men's financial standings were listed from East 
Auburn incases where, for forty years before, the listings had been made 
from Auburn; hence more troubles. 

The convalescence and awakening took place suddenly when the gov- 
ernment changed the name of the up-town post office to Auburn and put 



150 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

in a contract or down-town accommodation office, called "Branch A." The 
main office was not moved into another building; the troublesome word, 
"East," was simply dropped — and three-fourths of the people of the city 
found themselves residents of Auburn. For over half a generation, children 
have been born and raised in a place that never has existed. But we hope 
the dog-days are over, the harmful disease is ended. 

The Old Cannon 

For many years, as far back as 1857 at least, there was a tall flag-pole 
located at the corner of Commercial and Court Streets, near the southeast 
corner of the old Temple saloon building, and near by it was stationed the 
big iron cannon, hung on large, heavy blocks and wooden wheels. Accord- 
ing to the best account the writer has of this old cannon, it was jointly 
owned by patriotic citizens of Auburn and Ophir. The two towns alter- 
nated annually in its use for the sunrise salutes on the Fourth of July. One 
particular year when it was Auburn's turn to celebrate with the sunrise 
salute, the powder was got ready, but early in the morning the cannon 
was heard booming down at Ophir. The Ophir boys had quietly hauled 
the cannon to Ophir during the night, and celebrated very early on ,the 
morning of the Fourth ; and to carry the joke farther, they hid the gun in 
the bottom of Stephen Jamison's reservoir, where it lay for several years. 
The hiding-place being disclosed, the Auburn people hauled the cannon 
back to the Temple building. It was finally taken off its carriage and lay 
on the ground for several years ; but after the death of George Crisman, 
his daughter had it planted in the ground, to be used as a hitching-post. 
Later it was removed to Sierra Park and mounted on a large base of granite 
quartz. The flag-pole was taken down when it became old and dangerous. 

Music Hall 

Music Hall was situated on a lot forty-four feet wide and 300 feet long, 
more or less, which ran southerly from Washington Street, like an old- 
fashioned mining claim of uncertain depth. The hall itself was about eighty 
feet long, with a good stage at the south end. It was originally called 
Armory Hall, and was used by the Auburn Grays as a drill hall. Later it 
was sold to certain trustees of the Auburn Brass Band. This was in 1871. 
In 1891 it was sold to the Auburn City Hall Association, and the following 
January a more complete deed was made to the association. 

The old hall was a noted place, and served the people of Auburn for 
different purposes from early days to 1892 — as a drill hall, and for band 
practice, dancing, theatricals, skating rink, archery hall, political conven- 
tions, district fairs, and other purposes. It was the only hall in town. The 
theatrical people rated Auburn as "a good show town, but with poor accom- 
modations." 

Dr. T. M. Todd was a fine violinist and musician, and was always 
planning to have better musical companies visit Auburn. That generally 
meant guarantees. The writer recalls that on one occasion he secured the 
Boston Quintette Company, then a first-class troupe. There was a heavy 
guarantee to be raised. The Doctor, Charley Adams and others raised the 
guarantee. A good program, fostered by the Doctor, often brought lovers 
of good music from Dutch Flat, Colfax, Forest Hill, and the near-by towns 
below Auburn. The hall faced the cross-street, between Hollenbeck's Bank 
and the Walsh shoe shop. There were numerous dancing parties, but about 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 151 

once a year a real ball was given, with good Sacramento music and a fine 
supper at the American Hotel. Then the Pioneers turned out. 

A Mexican Celebration 

Back in 1873. on September 16, the writer witnessed in Auburn the 
celebration of the Mexican Independence ; in fact, the celebration continued 
over two days. Tuesday was the real holiday, but the merry-making began 
at 11 p.m. on Monday evening. Young ladies sang the Mexican national 
hymn, and a salute of twenty-one guns was fired. A salute of twenty-one 
guns was given the national flag, and the Declaration of Mexican Indepen- 
dence was read. Tuesday, at sunrise, the celebration was resumed with 
another salute of twenty-one guns, singing of the national hymn, and music 
by the Auburn Brass Band. An oration was then delivered by Mr. Angel 
Calvillo. Towards evening the celebration was again resumed, with more 
salutes, and more singing by the Mexican girls. A procession was formed, 
flags were flown, and banners and torches were used. The Auburn Brass 
Band headed the procession through the main streets of the town and back 
to the Plaza, where there were more speeches, singing and salutes. The 
celebration was ended with a grand national ball at Music Hall. 

It was at this or another ball at Music Hall that the writer witnessed 
the settling of the dust in a peculiar mode. Mr. Romero, St., a Chileno, and 
Mr. Charles Hellwig, the harness-maker, came on the dance floor with a 
dampened woolen blanket. Each catching a corner, they mopped forward 
and backward, up and down the long hall, reversing hands. The men were 
of about the same size and wore the usual high-heeled boots ; their long- 
tailed coats touched the floor, and the impression left on the writer was 
as if they had thrown down the challenge, "If anyone is looking for a 
shindy, please step on the tail o' me coat." The dust was gathered up, 
leaving the floor slightly dampened, with no resulting damage to the many 
elegant dresses worn by the ladies. 

The Opera House 

The old Music Hall had well-nigh served its day about 1890. It was 
too far from the residence center of town. The electric street lights were 
not numerous or bright on Washington Street on a dark, rainy night. 
Colonel Davis, General Hamilton, W. A. Freeman, the writer, and many 
others started the proposition for an opera house more nearly in the center 
of the residence population. A rule swung around the present opera-house 
site, on the map, showed that it was at the exact center, touching the resi- 
dences on the river hills and the ridge west of the ravine. A big triangular 
space was in front, and seven streets centered in or near the wide streets. 
An architect drew the plans on a liberal scale. The stage was forty feet 
deep and fifty-five feet wide. The grooves were placed eighteen leet above 
the floor, as required by the best-made scenery at that time. The scenery 
was painted in Chicago and framed by a San Francisco artist. 

Everything was going just lovely, when the hot August weather again 
began downtown. A rival corporation was started, called the Auburn City 
Hall Association. Other land was added to their site, and a brick building 
seventy-five feet wide and nearly 100 feet long was started, with stores 
beneath, and a town hall and theater with galleries, upstairs. As a conse- 
quence, the Opera House Company began to lose some of its subscriptions; 
but its promoters persevered, borrowed money, and finished a very creditable 
building which would seat about 700 people. 



152 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

The Opera House was opened by the Dr. Bill Troupe, who had played 
in Paris, London and New York, and were returning East after playing two 
weeks in San Francisco. Governor Markham and staff were invited to open 
the Opera House, the Governor and staff occupying opposite boxes. The 
gubernatorial party was given a chicken dinner in their car before leaving 
for Sacramento, while the Dr. Bill Troupe caught the midnight train for 
the East. The tickets were $2.50 each, and the house was filled. 

Another incident of the opening night is worthy of mention. As the 
troupe had played in Paris, it was rumored that the girls might be a little 
frisky; but Colonel Davis, General Hamilton, and William Freeman vouched 
for the high standing of the troupe and gave assurance that Auburn and the 
Governor's party would be pleased with the play. Certain of the good sisters 
of the town, however, would not be satisfied till they had gone to the depot 
and met the incoming train and troupe. The manager was sought and 
urged to eliminate any Parisian features of the play and give Auburn and 
the Governor's party and staff a very modest little performance. 

The manager had the positive assurance that he would not miss the 
Eastern overland train that night. The drayman was on hand to carry the 
trunks and baggage to the depot on time. Moreover, the house was filled, 
the ticket-office returns were good, and the Governor and his staff smiled 
their best; so the manager of the troupe put Auburn for that one night on 
the regular Paris, London, Chicago, and San Francisco circuit. The good 
sisters who had hunted up the manager, and got his promise, said the 
kicking and short dresses were "just scandalous." 

But the "dog-days" continued for a time. The Opera House Compan}' 
had secured a fine opera house in the exact center of town and population ; 
and the members of the company seemed satisfied. The directors bor- 
rowed the necessary $5000 to pay off their debts, and finally were so satisfied 
with the center-of-town Opera House that they deeded the building lot to 
the mortgage-holder — and ten of the principal stockholders waived the 
$1000 of stock held by each, and quietly bore the loss. 

The opposition theater and stores, meantime, approached completion. 
The stores were occupied for a time ; the upper floor was partly finished, 
so far that political gatherings could be held there; but debts pressed the 
promoters. The last possible dollar was subscribed and put into the unfor- 
tunate enterprise ; yet the unfinished building was finally sold to an enthusi- 
astic old Auburn resident for a consideration of about $9000. He neglected 
to carry insurance, and the property later burned down. The whole 
question of an opposition theater was an unfortunate mistake. The citizens 
of Auburn could hardly afford even to have one in the center of town. The 
promoters of the first one lost about $20,000, but have a well-equipped 
theater, still functioning. The opposition building was a fine-looking struc- 
ture, and must have cost not less than $30,000 — and what a sad wreck 
remains ! The remnants of the front and lot were rented during the war 
for a gathering-place for scrap iron, etc. ; and over the once pretentious 
portal are the forlorn words, "Auburn Junk Co." — once Armory Hall, later 
Music Hall, and now a bitter remembrance. About $40,000 was foolishly 
wasted in two theater enterprises ; but "dog-days" can happen most any 
time of the year if factions will foolishly contend. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 153 

The County Court House 

The old Placer County court-house, built in 1854, is shown in the view 
of Auburn in 1857, reproduced in this book, on a rolling hill near the upper 
left-hand corner of the picture. It was a well-built wooden structure of 
two stories, with plastered walls. Leading from a door on the east side 
out of the court room, on the second floor, was an iron bridge which led 
to the top of the brick jail built by Henry Thomas Holmes about the year 
1S57. The clerk's office and treasurer's office occupied the upper part of 
the jail building. The jailer's rooms and kitchen were on the next floor 
below, and the cells and jail proper, a half-story and sub-basement, at the 
bottom. The old court-house was about 40 by 60 feet in size, with a small 
bell tower on top of the house for the present historic old court-house bell, 
described elsewhere. Two half-winding stairways met on a landing opening 
into the court-room. A full-page view of the old court-house and jail faces 
page 33 of this history. 

The Plumas County court-house, the writer is informed, was built about 
the same time, at Ouincy, that ours was built in Auburn ; and both were 
similar in construction. 

The people began agitating for a new court-house about 1888 or 1890, 
but some opposition showed itself. There was talk of a new county in 
the mountains, with Truckee as a county seat, taking in the eastern ends 
of Sierra, Nevada and Placer Counties. Again, as county seats and county 
boundaries were defined in the new constitution of 1879, the question was 
left open in such manner that in time there might be a shifting of county 
boundary lines that would make Lincoln a county seat. Under these cir- 
cumstances the board of supervisors were anxious to have a modern court- 
house built. In fact, quite generally over the State second and substantial 
court-houses were being built. The matter of the new court-house was 
submitted to the people once or twice, but the voting of bonds was refused 
by the people. 

Finally the supervisors began levying and collecting a small five-cent 
tax each year, and after a few years had about $27,000 accumulated in a 
court-house fund. The people at large, in 1894, had concluded that it was 
time to have a new court-house; and when the matter was again submitted 
to them, on August 7 of that year, they voted in favor of $80,000 bonds 
for the purpose. Plans had been adopted, and the granite first story was 
then building. There seemed to be some friction between the supervisors 
and the contractors, whether through intent on the part of the contractors 
to over-reach, or because of stubbornness or incompetence on the part of 
the supervisors, at this late day it is hard to tell. The old court-house was 
rolled northeasterly on the ample grounds, and served while the new one 
was going up. 

The people themselves became interested and asked for certain changes 
and conveniences. The present assessor's room was at first intended as the 
supervisors' room. It was to have marble wainscoting and a few extra 
touches in beautification. The fixed location of the court room was the ! 
for other changes. The judge and all attorney > insisted that the clerk's 
office should be on the same floor and near the court room, and all parties 
insisted that as the county clerk was the clerk (if the board of supervisors, 
and the two offices were closely related, the clerk's and supervisors' rooms 
should therefore be adjoining; and finally it was worked out as now 
arranged. 



154 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

The plans originally called for three flights of stone steps, costing about 
$6000 for each flight, the third set projecting southeasterly from the present 
auditor's office. To many taxpayers, and especially those who were to 
use the court-house most, this plan seemed wasteful of public money and 
an injury to the looks of the building; so they urged the omission of the 
eastern flight of steps and the putting in of an elevator to the court-room 
hallway. The east steps were omitted, but no elevator was put in. It was 
said that the south flight of steps was innocently planned, and bid for, as 
suitable for level ground, but that when the actual steps were ready to be 
put in, the ground was found to slope sharply to the south, so that the 
foundations and lower steps had to be put in as extras, and at an extra 
price. 

There was a suit started about the stairs to the upper gallery. The 
plans called for iron steps, but they were nearly finished in wood before it 
was discovered. When suit was started, the iron steps were put in. 

All the halls, without doubt, were and are too wide and wasteful of 
space. The present auditor's office was made from one of these too large 
and roomy halls. The north end of the same floor has recently been made 
into a stenographer's room for the district attorney's offices. It may be 
truly said that there never has been sufficient office room in the building 
since it was erected. The jail occupies much valuable space on the ground 
floor of the south wing; but it would be troublesome to rearrange the build- 
ing now, because there are no plans extant. Soon after the building was 
completed, years ago, the plans disappeared from the clerk's office. The 
corner-stone has the figures "1894." 

Although the building cost too much money and there was some dissat- 
isfaction while it was building, yet it can be truthfully said that Placer 
County came nearer furnishing all the materials for its court-house than 
most counties. The solid granite foundation walls and steps came from 
Rocklin ; the beautiful terra cotta bricks, arches and trimmings for the two 
upper stories came from Lincoln. Lime and lumber were also in the county 
in abundance. Unfortunately, our iron mine closed down in 1881. The 
slate roof came from Eldorado County, adjoining us on the south. It is a 
building solidly built and of imposing appearance ; and, barring an occasional 
noisy train passing up over the cut-off, it is a quiet, orderly place to transact 
court and county business. 

Local Effects of the Railroad Strike of 1894 

For a long time before the general railroad strike and tie-up of 1894, 
trouble had been pending between the Pullman sleeping-car builders of 
Chicago and their employees. Finally, the disputes widened out so that it 
developed into a strike of almost all railroad employees against such rail- 
roads as continued to haul the Pullman sleeping cars. 

The strike began in California about July 1, 1894; at least, it was in 
full swing in Sacramento on July 3, when engines were chained to the rails 
by the strikers, Pullman cars were run onto side tracks, and there was 
much commotion in the passenger depot, though the writer saw no destruc- 
tion of property. At first, local passenger traffic was not interfered with, 
but no trains with Pullman cars were allowed to proceed. 

The writer and other Auburn citizens were marooned in Sacramento 
on July 3. The new court-house at Auburn was to be dedicated on July 4, 
and the officers of the Masonic Grand Lodge were to have the matter in 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 155 

charge. These officers could not reach Auburn by reason of the tie-up. 
Local trains were promised to run east, but they were not started ; so 
the Auburn people chartered a large stage and were driven up late in the 
night at $3 per ticket. 

In order to give a clear and correct statement of local conditions result- 
ing from the tie-up, the writer quotes from the Placer Herald of July 7, 1894. 

"The great railroad strike is still on, and it may be for some time to 
come. The Railway Union boys are determined, and have enlisted the 
sympathy and the aid of every labor organization in the country to the 
extent of stopping all trains from one end of the country to the other. The 
latest is that the strikers are still masters of the situation, although a few 
trains have been moved in the far East under guard of L T nited States troops. 
Xo blood has been shed, although there have been many hand-to-hand en- 
counters between the Union and railroad officials or United States troops. 
The strikers have all along contended that they would not molest trains 
not carrying Pullmans, but it was not until yesterday that the railroad 
offered to run the freight and mail trains without sleeping cars attached. 
It is reported that the Southern Pacific Company gave such an order." 

The foregoing seems to be a fair statement of the situation. There was 
a general sympathy for the railroad men. No property had been destroyed 
so far, but the deprivation of the mails, and especially the daily newspapers, 
began to provoke the people. Many of the towns, also, were poorly supplied 
with food. A photograph of those days shows five heavily loaded four-horse 
freight wagons going up "Mile Hill," nearing Billy Ware's place. These 
teams were evidently from Sacramento, with supplies for the Forest Hill 
Divde. In one week's time there were five stages or wagons running out 
of Auburn in different directions, carrying passengers, besides a great number 
of freight teams bringing supplies into Auburn. Ice had to be hauled from 
Sacramento for the use of the people. 

I quote further from the Herald to show how the strike was affecting 
our fruit business. 

"Placer County is probably the heaviest loser of any county in the 
State of California so far, by reason of the strike. One of her principal 
industries is fruit-growing. She ships her products East and depends on 
the Eastern markets entirely. About fifty cars, averaging $500 a car, or 
$25,000, are on the road between here and their destination and are. of 
course, totally destroyed. Besides, there are ten or twenty carloads at 
the depots ready for shipment, and they have been dumped. The entire 
crop of Hale's early peaches are a loss on the trees, being too ripe for use. 
The blackberry crop is also lost. Apricots are ripe, but most of them will 
be dried. Thus, it will be seen that probably Placer County's loss through 
over-ripe fruit so far will reach at least $75,000. It certainly is $10,000 a 
clay, as the fruit now ripening brings the highest prices. In another fort- 
night the peaches, pears, plums and apples will be ripe. If the trains do not 
run within the next week, our entire fruit crop will firing nothing — prac- 
tically a total loss." 

Reports were flying in Auburn, though some may not have been authen- 
tic. One item in the paper states: 

"Xo mails arrive or leave Auburn except by stage to the upper por- 
tion of the county, to Georgetown and Grass Valley. Papers arc furnished 
every day, however, by our enterprising newsdealer, W. H. Sawyer. Later: 
George J. Morgan left last evening for Sacramento, and will bring up the 
San Francisco and Sacramento mail this moraine." 



156 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Another note says : 

"Company D caused some little excitement last Wednesday evening 
when it marched, under command of Captain Tuttle, to the station and 
camped there forty strong, with five rounds of ammunition. They were 
ordered there by General Diamond of San Francisco, to intercept and cap- 
ture a train of strikers bound from Truckee to Sacramento to assist their 
brother workmen at that place." 

It was reported that about 8 p. m. a message came that Company D 
was not needed at the depot; so the company returned down town. In the 
meantime about 150 strikers came down from Truckee, passed the station, 
and reached Sacramento. The rumor was that Superintendent Wright, of 
the railroad company, telegraphed the track-walker at Auburn to open the 
switches and run the strikers onto the side track. Sheriff Conroy replied 
that he would hold the train if it stopped, but he would not permit anyone 
to open the switches or allow them to be spiked and thus endanger hu- 
man life. 

Many doubtful dispatches reached Auburn during the strike. One was 
to the effect that the strikers in Chicago had disarmed the United States 
troops and taken complete possession of the city. Some of these dispatches 
were : 

"Strike not yet off, but fruit and passenger trains are running. Eighteen 
cars of fruit shipped from Placer this week." 

"Passenger trains are running every day, though irregular and armed 
with United States deputy marshal, regulars and militia, and under guard 
of soldiers camped at every station and bridge." 

On July 21 a newspaper comment stated that Company D was drilling 
every Saturday and Tuesday evening on the street. On July 28 it was said 
that Company D was called to Truckee the previous Monday and left on 
the midnight train, with Lieutenant Tyler in command. A Roseville item 
states : "The United States soldiers are still with us and we can rest easy, 
for we are well protected." 

On August 4 Company D was still at "Camp Truckee" doing guard 
duty for the railroad tracks and bridges ; but on August 1 1 it returned from 
Truckee, after doing guard duty for sixteen days, and the strike was ended. 

Meantime, the dedication of the new court-house at Auburn was held 
on July 4 before a large audience. There was a large parade, consisting of 
the Auburn Band, Company D, the G. A. R., floats, fire companies, New- 
castle Band, officers of the day, supervisors, city trustees, citizens in car- 
riages, and horsemen. In the absence of the Grand Lodge Masonic body, 
Judge J. E. Prewett laid the corner-stone in an appropriate manner, and 
gave an able address. 

Odd Fellows' Hall 

The Odd Fellows' Hall was built the same year as the court-house, in 
1894. H. T. Holmes, in his recollections, given elsewhere, says : 

"I also erected two large stone buildings for stores, also a large brick 
building for a store in Auburn. These buildings also remain intact at the 
present time. The brick building mentioned is now owned by Mr. John 
Worsley partly, and partly by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the 
upper story having been sold by myself to the order some time before I 
sold the lower stories to Mr. Worsley. I do not know of another building 
in this State where the upper story is sold to one party and the lower to a 
second party — two separate owners upon the same land." 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 157 

For man} - years, however, there was another property owned in Auburn 
under similar conditions. The Masonic Lodge room was owned by Masons, 
while the lower story of the building in which it was located was owned 
by others. 

In the early nineties, the Odd Fellows' Lodge room in the old building 
becoming too cramped and small for the growing organization, the lodge 
determined to move out and build elsewhere. After some friction as to 
where the new lodge room should be erected, a lot was selected in sight of 
the court-house and opposite the elementary-school lot. The structure is 
a large two-story brick building, with three store rooms below and a line 
high-ceiling lodge room above, and with a banquet hall and ample ante- 
rooms in addition. It is on the corner of East Street and Lincoln Way, 
and faces the largest triangle street in the city. Many other orders also 
meet in this spacious lodge room. 

Masonic Temple 

About 1910 the Masonic bodies began agitating the question of acquir- 
ing a new home. The order owned no banquet hall, but rented an adjoining 
room. It was quite generally agreed that a new location would be advisable ; 
but where? Committees were appointed and reports made, questionaires 
were sent out, and test votes were occasionally taken. The sentiment was 
nearly unanimous that the new home should be located above a part of the 
center block, on the large triangle fronting the opera house. It was finally 
decided to buy the ground and one-story building conducted by the W. G. 
Lee Company as a department store. Ten feet additional width was pur- 
chased for stairway purposes. 

The committees and lodges did not unduly hasten matters, taking five 
years to deliberate and inspect numerous plans. The Masonic Hall Asso- 
ciation, with a capital stock of $20,000, was formed, and the foundation store 
and basement were purchased. A. D. Fellows, a local architect, was 
requested to prepare plans for the future temple. Although not a Mason 
when engaged. Mr. Fellows entered into the spirit of the plans so heartily 
that he soon became a member of the fraternity. He worked with zeal 
towards the completion of the temple, which really became his monument. 
He was a sick man during the building, being compelled to go to the hos- 
pital for a time, and did not live long after the completion of the temple. 

The Gladding-McBean Company made a very flattering offer to the 
building committee, agreeing that as times were slack and they desired to 
aid in putting up a creditable building in the county, the}' would put up the 
terra cotta front at cost, or $2890; and on a second estimate, a year later, they 
placed the cost at $2790. The architect and the pottery company worked 
together, and the front of the temple is considered very ornate and classical 
in design. 

The corner-stone bears the date 1915. War industries wen- being mob- 
ilized, and prices went up accordingly; and the structure that we had hoped 
to build for $25,000 required an outlay, with original cost of foundations, 
of over $50,000. The temple is neatly and conveniently finished inside, and 
is a real ornament to our city. 

Auburn's High School 
For man\- years Auburn boasted of a small college, called Siena Normal 
College. It was built to aid three young Eastern teachers who liked the 
location and brought some money with them. Tin- school was located where 



158 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

the present high school stands. The certificates in aid of the school were 
gradually bought up by the three teachers in cash or tuition dues until the 
young men owned the plant. The ownership finally fell into the hands of 
Dr. Ward, now of Woodland. Later, the plant was rented by several private 
teachers; and finally it became the Placer County High School, in 1901. 

In 1914 the school was reorganized into the Placer Union High School, 
there being then two high schools in the county. In 1906 the present brick 
building was erected. That was the year of the great San Francisco fire, 
and the contractor experienced great difficulty in completing the building as 
contracted for. With some remodeling and additions, the building has been 
made to serve the needs of the community since 1906. 

Elementary Schools of the City 

Before 1915 there were two large square wooden school buildings on 
the public-school lot, together containing sixteen rooms. From early days 
there had been one building, and later two, well to the rear on the lot. 

During the period when the branch railroad, commonly called the "cut- 
off," was building from Rocklin to Colfax (1909-1912), the superintendent of 
that improvement and of others in Placer County was an experienced engi- 
neer by the name of A. J. Barclay. While the construction work was in 
progress, Mr. Barclay built and owned a dwelling-house here, and was a 
citizen of Auburn. A man of sound sense and engineering ability, he gave 
of his spare time to the service of the city where he lived. He said, in effect, 
"If my experience as an engineer is of value to you, you have but to request 
and command me." Such an offer could not be rejected. He was elected a 
member of the board of city trustees, and also mayor, and gave valuable 
service to the city in that capacity. As he had helped the Masonic Temple 
in Reno, Nev., he offered his services to the corporation then building the 
Auburn Masonic Temple. Several of the members of the board of directors 
having resigned, Mr. Barclay and other practical builders were elected on 
the board ; and it is needless to say that the architect's plans and specifica- 
tions were strictly lived up to thenceforward. But it is of Mr. Barclay's 
services to the public during the erecting of the city's fine elementary-school 
building that we wish to speak. Auburn was about to build a first-class 
elementary school of a fine classical design ; and Mr. Barclay was asked to 
stand for the office of school trustee, and was elected and put in charge of 
the construction work. The contractor became embarrassed during the 
erection of the building, and finally died ; but Mr. Barclay held the contrac- 
tor's bondsmen strictly to what the contractor had agreed to build. The 
bonds voted were $45,000, but $2000 in addition was raised by the school 
district and added to the fund, making possible a better building, costing, 
all told, $47,000. Good chairs or settees, however, were still lacking for the 
auditorium, and Mr. Barclay led off in this matter; and with the citizens 
making subscriptions for from one to four chairs, the auditorium was soon 
properly seated. 

In addition to building the cut-off for Mr. Harriman, with its perfect 
grade and seventeen different tunnels, all costing, it is said, $15,000,000, Mr. 
Barclay found time in the evenings to lend his great administrative and 
engineering ability to his fellow citizens of Auburn, just at a time when 
they were most needed. The Auburn elementary school building is the 
admiration of all visitors. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 159 

City Sewer System 

In 1891 and 1892 Auburn had seven hotels. The Putnam House was 
generally mentioned first, as it was a sort of tourist's hotel, and held out 
the glad hand to the Oakland spring and fall visitors. These visitors from 
the modern Athens were very numerous on our streets ; but at the end of a 
certain season they were gone — and never returned, the reason being that 
the town did not have a modern sewer system, which was true. 

The town had reincorporated on May 2, 1888, however ; so the machinery 
i if city government was at hand, ready to put in motion for installing a 
modern plant. The AYaring system was adopted, and the whole city was 
sewered with four-inch, six-inch and twelve-inch pipes, like the city of Mem- 
phis, Term. As the site of the city is rolling and many of the streets have 
heavy grades, a single twelve-inch pipe serves most of the city from Pre- 
dom's garage down the ravine street to the first culvert, and thence to the 
north side of the ravine to the septic tank belonging to the city. At first 
many automatic Alameda flushers were installed, but they were later aban- 
doned. The sewer system cost the city many thousands of dollars, and works 
satisfactorily. 

By reason of bad fires, most of our small hotels have from time to 
time been destroyed ; so at the present time we have only two large hotels. 
The old American should have been repaired when last damaged, but instead 
it was torn down in part and converted into a one-story business building — 
another case of bad judgment. Old Auburn,, without an American Hotel, 
faced stagnation. Even Colonel Davis, D. W. Lubeck, and others tried to 
have a new hotel put up on the site of the Temple building ; but the}- met 
with no encouragement. 

City Lighting System 

In 1886 George Hill and Frank Bell began putting in a lighting system 
for the town. The drop in the ditch was used, a drop of 125 feet, starting 
near the F. Closs place north of Auburn, the head of water, confined in a 
pipe, generating the power. Hill soon sold out, and Bell died ; but the 
plant continued to be carried on under the name of Bell Electric Company. 

Since the Pacific Gas & Electric Company's system was perfected, the 
Bell system has taken its energy in bulk from that company, and runs the 
city lighting and power system under the general supervision of the State 
commission governing public utilities. 

Street Improvements 

About the year 1913 the city proceeded to put in a good graded street 
down Auburn Ravine to the State highway, on the edge of the city, below 
the second culvert. The State highway was sixteen feet wide. The city 
made its ravine road two feet wider to Nevada Street. The mad was first 
correctly graded and two substantial culverts were erected; and then a fust - 
class cement road was put in. At the same time, the city put in a large 
cement septic tank on a city-owned piece of land on a branch of the main 
ravine, southwest of the city. 

In 1914 a small bond issue was voted, and a sixteen-foot graded cement 
road or street was laid from the ravine street up Lincoln Way to the rail- 
road right of way near the Freeman Hotel. There was a provision in the 
contract that individuals should pave in front of their lots out to meet the 
city paving in the middle of the street. It is praiseworthy that all citizens 



160 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

but one promptly met this requirement, and this gap was filled in soon after- 
ward. Thus the contractor was able in one job to pave from curb to curb the 
whole length of the main street through the city. 

It soon became apparent to the taxpayers and trustees of Auburn that 
there should be additional street paving, if the city was to keep pace with 
other progressive places. Certain cross-streets and residential streets were 
of such importance as to require cementing. Several near-by streets also 
were improved together with these in a district system. Under this plan 
the lot-owners paid for the paving in front of their holdings to the center 
of the street. 

There were three other streets of such importance that it was deemed 
proper for the whole city to bear the cost of the improvements. These were, 
first, the extension of the State highway from Grass Valley, from the city 
limits at the northwest corner to the main city paving at the corner of 
Lincoln Way and the Newcastle road ; next, Sacramento Street from the 
plaza, down town, to the railroad crossing towards Long Valley, as also 
the continuation of High Street, at "The Pines," southerly to its inter- 
section with Sacramento Street near the old Munson house ; and lastly, 
Colfax Avenue or road from where it entered the city limits near its north- 
east corner, southwesterly along the old established street past the Lowell 
and Meredith places, thence southerly through the eastern end of the Conroy 
homestead, and through the railroad subway, thence southerly skirting the 
Freeman Hotel premises, and thence westerly down old Railroad Street 
to the west limit of the railroad right of way. By this route the paving 
runs part of the distance over the government railroad right of way ; and 
the decision as to where it should run was a matter for compromise and 
adjustment with the railroad company, the idea seeming to be, to pave along 
the established Auburn streets, but as far away from the railroad tracks 
as possible, reserving to the railroad corporation the right to widen or 
change the depot grounds, if necessary. This necessitated considerable 
grading through the Conroy property and other lots east of the subway. 

The last three improvements seemed a necessity, because the State 
roads from Grass Valley and Colfax to the city limits were good paved 
State roads. Also the Long Valley dirt road was fairly good to the railroad 
crossing. From there, and from the end of the Grass Valley and Colfax 
State roads to the cemented streets near the center of the city, the three 
intervening streets were rough and rocky. 

The city called a bond election in the sum of $75,000 for these improve- 
ments. The election was favorable, and the bonds were issued and sold to 
one of our local banks. 

The material called Willite was selected as the paving material for the 
above-mentioned connecting streets. The Grass Valley and Long Valley 
sections have been completed, and the Colfax section also. These last- 
mentioned connecting streets are paved to a width of sixteen to twenty-two 
feet, while the cement-paved portions of the city streets are paved the 
whole width of the streets, with gutters and curb lines. 

The trustees, in making these improvements, followed the provisions 
of the State Improvement Acts of 1911 and 1914. A sample, from the work 
done in 1923, might be called the Orange Street District, which included 
Lewis, Orange, Orange Extension, Finley east to Olive Street, and Agard 
past the high-school grounds. New sewers were laid, and several manholes 
were put in. The property-owners paid for the street improvements or a 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 16! 

ten-year series of bonds were issued. Seventy-five per cent of the cost of 
the street-paving' was paid when the work was finished. 

High Street, which is mostly straight and nearly level, was cemented 
from the southwest corner of the high-school grounds to near the railroad 
subway — from Cleveland Street to the subway twenty-two-foot paving, all 
the balance of the street from curl) to curb. Cleveland Street, Cherrv Ave- 
nue, Magnolia Avenue, and Tennis Way were paved from curb to curb. 
The streets by and back of the old Tuttle place, clear to and beyond the 
County Hospital, were cemented most of the way from curb to curl). Pine 
Street. Almond Street, and one block of East Placer were cemented from 
curl) to curb. Commercial Street was cemented past the court-house, clown 
Court Street, to near the Newcastle road, from curb to curb. The dangerous, 
narrow opening eastward from the town plaza was widened out by a retain- 
ing wall to thirty-two feet, and then filled and cemented, making a safe 
driveway to the eastern part of Auburn. 

The Willite system will make two and three-fourths miles of grading 
and paving, which with the cement-paving will aggregate four and one-half 
miles of good- paved streets put in during the past two years, in addition to 
that of former years — about one and a half miles more — or a grand total 
of six miles. 

The Fire Department 

The "Rattlers" was the name of our first fire company. The company 
got its new cart March 3, 1888, and about the same time a truck and exten- 
sion ladders. The company soon moved into its new fire house at the head 
of Railroad Street. 

The second company, Hose Company No. 2 (the down-town company), 
was organized February 18, 1888, and later got its hose cart, costing over 
$500. A pike-pole, chain, rope and ladders were also presented to the com- 
pany; and in time a fire house with company office was built. 

On May 19, 1888, the Grass Valley and Nevada City companies visited 
Auburn, and our water pressure was tried out. The extreme down-town 
pressure is 300 feet: the pressure at the public school and Odd Fellows' 
Hall is 250 feet. The water-works were new and in good order. The force 
of the projected stream is such that inch boards one foot wide were torn 
off an old stable fifty feet away. Also, boards were split by the great force 
of the water, and bricks from the cornice of an old building were torn out 
at the same distance. Under full pressure, it took six men to hold the nozzle 
steady in front of the schoolhouse test. 

Later, a third company was organized by men drafted from the old 
companies. It was located at the central block, and was provided with a 
good cart and chemical apparatus. 

The board of trustees has always been very generous to the Auburn 
firemen, in old times paying their poll-tax. The trustees have always pro; 
vided mans- hundreds of feet of hose to each company; and it takes the best 
quality to stand our water-pressure. 

In June, 1916, the city bought three high-powered Buick cars tor the 
department, and there has always since been a merry race to determine who 
should drive the cars when the fire bell rings. firemen in pajamas and 
slippers have been seen racing for the position. 

Many times the firemen are called out when tin- only danger is from a 

grass-fire on the outskirts of the city; so a little Ford car that had gone 
<; 



162 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

through the fire of August, 1923, was given to the firemen, to be used espe- 
cially for quick work at grass-fires. AYith much work and considerable 
expense, the firemen fitted up this little fire-fighter. It is painted a vivid 
red, and has a bed filled with large buckets, many feet of garden hose, axes, 
shovels and hoes, besides other tools and appliances with which to fight a 
grass-fire. Old Nick himself could not look more impish than that little 
red wagon rigged up by the Auburn fire-fighters. 

During 1923-1924, what is called the Gamewell fire-alarm system was 
installed by the city trustees at a cost of $2200. There are eleven fire-alarm 
boxes, and two striking alarm bells, one at each end of the town. The im- 
provements are up to date and are similar to the apparatus used in Sacramento 
and the larger cities of the State. 

There exists between the Auburn citizens and tax-payers, on one hand, 
and the three fire companies of the city on the other, a feeling of sincere 
and mutual respect. The city trustees and citizens supply the members of 
the volunteer companies with the best of equipment, and each and every 
member is quick to respond to the fire bell. They have saved life and 
thousands of dollars' worth of property in Auburn on many occasions. Two 
or three times they have raced to Newcastle and, with men and hundreds 
of feet of hose, aided in fighting destructive fires at that place. 

S. G. Lukens, of the "Rattlers," has for twenty-two years been contin- 
uously elected fire chief for the city, and — "mirabile dictu !" — the down- 
town company has acquiesced in the good selection. 

Our Water Supply 

The Pacific Gas & Electric Company's system in Placer County means 
much to our prosperity. The company has taken over the old Bear River 
system, built in 1851-1852 as a mining ditch, and has acquired other moun- 
tain ditches and reservoirs, their main use now being for irrigation and 
power purposes. For both purposes the water must be regulated in its 
flow by reservoirs. Lake Spaulding, on the Yuba River, in Nevada County, 
near Emigrant Gap, may. be regarded as a model for size and depth. The 
curved retaining wall is 275 feet high, and backs up water to a distance of 
about nine miles. Lake Fordyce, farther up in the mountains, is being 
enlarged to double its former capacity. 

The first object is, to have a number of sufficiently large reservoirs to 
retain and hold back large quantities of water ; and the next is, to get full 
service from the water by large ditches and, at convenient places, to con- 
duct large bodies of water through pipes into power houses, there to drive 
the most modern Pelton wheels for generating electrical current. The water 
is not lost, but is immediately taken up by a continuation of the ditch 
system, to be again turned down the next favorable drop in the mountains 
to generate more electrical energy. 

The small reservoir also performs its proper functions in the system. At 
the Soda Springs station, Lake Van Norden, within three miles of the 
summit, acts in a double capacity, both as a small reservoir to impound and 
hold back the melted snow water, and also as a regulator to the larger 
reservoirs, its water being turned down into them as needed to keep an 
even flow in the ditches down towards the valley and power houses. 

In addition to shortening the present ditch with several tunnels and 
enlarging its carrying capacity, many small reservoirs have been constructed 
near Auburn. The first was Lake Theodore, near Clipper Gap, erected in 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 163 

1896. The next was Lake Arthur, made in 1909. Next came the large reg- 
ulating reservoir near Rock Creek, erected in 1916; and then came the 
forebays or regulating reservoirs for the Halsey and Wise Power House-, 
the "Wise Power House being below Auburn, on the Auburn Ravine, and 
the Halsey Power House being above Auburn and in sight of the Lincoln 
Highway. These power houses and regulating reservoirs have all been built 
within the last four years, and have cost many thousands of dollars. The 
general works and power houses near Auburn require efficient superintend- 
ents, officers and men to keep the large system moving. 

At this writing (July, 1924), word has gone forth to conserve the water 
and cut off all waste, in order that the fruit-growers may have the needed 
water to mature the summer fruits, and the late cling peaches, and that the 
final irrigations may be made in the fall, so that the fruit buds for the fol- 
lowing year may be properly started and the general fall growth may not 
be retarded. All these matters are of vital importance to the farmer ancl 
fruit-grower. And again-, water must be conserved during dry years, so 
that every possible wheel of industry may be kept turning; for electrical 
power must be generated in amount sufficient to meet the demands of the 
dependent factories and keep the wheels of commerce moving. 

Placer County is favorably situated, as regards its water supply, having 
numerous ditches, large and small, which carry ample irrigating water, and 
several power houses and good sites for more ; and moreover, all parts of 
the system are easy of access by railroad or State highway. 



CHAPTER IX 

RISE AND DECLINE OF THE MINING INDUSTRY 

The discovery of gold at Coloma in 1848 by Marshall made California 
the Star of the West. The strong-hearted adventurers of the world with 
one accord turned their faces to this new star and followed its leading. 
In two years we find over 100,000 of these pioneers scattered throughout 
California, mining in every gulch and taking out their ounces of gold. 

The writer has decided to select one mining town to illustrate the rise 
and decline of the mining industry in Placer County. Gold Run is chosen 
for this purpose, though with no intent to detract from the just claims oi 
other and older mining camps of the county, such as Gold Mill, on Auburn 
Ravine; Rattlesnake, on the American River; Yorkville, on the Forest Hill 
Divide between the first and second Brushy Canyons; Pine Grove, some- 
times called Smithville, now a farming community east of Loomis; Illinois- 
town; and other once bustling mining towns that are now only names, 
since the towns have entirely disappeared. In the fruit districts, a fruit 
orchard may now cover the site of a former mining town. Brick store 
rooms that were used fifty years ago, or stood vacant thirty years ago, 
are now torn down, and often the ground that was beneath them is now 
plowed and in fruit. 



164 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Then, there are other once famous mining towns like Yankee Jims, 
Ophir, Iowa Hill and Michigan Bluff, that have retained some of their busi- 
ness streets and store buildings, with many dwelling-houses and orchards, 
evidencing better days, when they were lively and prosperous mining and 
trading communities. The evidences of early-day mining are around you — 
great piles of cobble stones, as at Yankee Jims, and high banks of hydraulic 
mining pits close up to the edges of the towns, like Michigan Bluff, Gold 
Run, and Dutch Flat. Some of the towns mentioned have gone down 
partl) r from other causes than the cessation of mining. Forest Hill and 
Todds Valley gradually took the trade and business away from Yankee 
Jims; likewise Colfax absorbed Illinoistown. Michigan Bluff, on the other 
hand, was in a certain sense the distributing point for other mining camps 
farther up the mountains. AVhen its hydraulic mines were stopped, a rem- 
nant of business remained. All the towns mentioned were old flourishing 
mining camps before Gold Run came into existence. 

GOLD RUN 

There was a trading station and a fine fruit orchard, called Cold Spring 
Ranch, at the southeast base of Cold Spring Mountain, south of Gold Run. 
The mines at Indiana Hill were the first to be developed. The large body of 
land extending south from the railroad right of way adjoining Dutch Flat 
mining claims on the north side of the railroad tracks was found to be 
good hydraulic ground and was located and worked as such. It soon be- 
came necessary to run one large tunnel from the American River hillside 
northerly towards Dutch Flat as an outlet for the main Gold Run mines, 
and for other mine owners who found it to their advantage to run their 
waste water through the large main tunnel, the Bonanza. So it seems Gold 
Run came into existence quickly ; was an important, busy mining camp 
while it lasted ; and died quietly when - its main industry, hydraulic mining, 
was stopped by an unfavorable decision in the United States Circuit Court, 
and by a direct suit by the State of California against the Gold Run Ditch 
and Mining Company, decided on June 12, 1882. 

Gold Run got its name from a little stream starting near the present 
highway bridge over the railroad tracks at the western side of the village. 
The stream runs southeasterly into the American River. The early settle- 
ment down the stream used to be called "Dixie." Old-timers claim Gold 
Run saw its best days about 1870. Smaller mining claims were worked 
by individual owners before that date. Later, mines were consolidated, 
and large, strong companies became the rule, such as the Gold Run Ditch 
and Mining Company. 

In 1872 and 1873, when the writer lived in Gold Run, it was a very 
important mining town, doing a mining business of one-half or two-thirds as 
much as Dutch Flat, adjoining on the north. Old-time photographs of the 
main street, taken about 1870, show a wide, closely built-up street on 
both sides. 

The townsite owners were late but careful as to the titles of their 
lots. A townsite was secured through the local superior judge, a town plat 
was filed in the recorder's office in 1889, and good titles for the lot holders 
were received. The townsite survey and plat seems full, complete and 
somewhat pretentious, consisting of a broad level street running east and 
west, with two side streets or county roads running southerly down into the 
mines, and two streets running: northerlv towards Dutch Flat. All of the 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 165 

four side streets were built up with residences. It had a "Nob 1 1 ill" section 
on the west side of the Central Pacific Railway track, where were located 
the town cemetery, the two schoolhouses. and some of the more ambitious 
residences ,of the town. The locust was the prevailing street shade tree, 
and the usual fruit and ornamental trees were planted in the yards. The 
village had nine saloons or drinking places; but, so far as the writer recalls, 
there were none of the bad, low-down sort, the saloon keepers being sub- 
stantial men. some of them serving as school trustees or on town committees, 
and taking an active part in politics, while none were held in disrepute. 

There was a brass band of nine pieces, which discoursed good, bad 
and indifferent music, the leader, Capt. A. X. Davidson, and other members 
being always wiling on all reasonable occasions to play for the pleasure of 
the citizens. 

The town also boasted a fine flagstaff — of course claimed to be the 
highest in the State, or at least in Placer County, although this was dis- 
puted by Iowa Hill. It was a fine affair, surely, sailor-made, with a main 
shaft, halyards and cross-bars, and a topmast that greatly increased the 
height. It had been freshly painted; and being braced at the ground, it 
gave promise to stand for years. This flag-pole was the basis for much 
hilarity. Soon after it was repaired, Jim Gould, the big mining superin- 
tendent, and Colonel Moody, of Gold Run, concluded to have some sport 
(not at their own expense, though); so they suggested to the several bar- 
keepers that they had a bet made, to be paid by the loser when the bet 
came true, and asked if on those terms they would treat the miners of the 
town to drinkables and keep an account of the charges. Of course, with such 
a proposal from such substantial men, the offer was accepted, and many be- 
came quite mellow over the rounds of free treats. Finally, a bold, inquisi- 
tive saloon-keeper insisted on knowing the conditions of the bet and when 
he was likely to get his money. He was informed that Gould had bet that 
when the flag-pole fell, it would fall north, and the Colonel bet that it would 
fall south. In fact, the flag-pole never fell. Many years afterwards it 
was taken down by J. D. Stewart as a safety precaution, for the protection oi 
school children passing to the school on the hill. 

There were five large water ditches passing through the town, one, the 
Cedar Creek, running for some distance under the north sidewalk on Main 
Street. The Cedar Creek system had a large retaining reservoir at the east 
end of the street, on the north side, with a pleasure boat on it. There 
were many feet of measuring gates at one end for measuring out the miner's 
inches of water into the ditches and pipes leading to the hydraulic mines, 
the fall from the pipe intake at the top to the monitors down in the mines 
being often 300 feet. 

The town supported a bank, an express office, a shop for the making ol 
mining pipe, a livers' stable, and the necessary stores, butcher shops and 
barber shops for a well-ordered town. Wells, Fargo & Co.'s envelopes, cost- 
ing fixa cents, were much in use. They were United States stamped letter 
envelopes, but the express company delivered them within a reasonable 
distance. 

There were, or had been, three hotels in the town in 1872, a joint Ma- 
sonic and Odd Fellows' hall, a town hall for general religious worship and 
dancing purposes, and also a church with more or less regular services. 

The inhabitants of the town were kind-hearted and generous, and evinced 
deep sympathy for the afflicted. The writer's diary speaks of a funeral as 



166 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

follows: "Saturday, March 15, 1873. Attended the funeral of Mrs. Wardner. 
Am pleased with the way people turned out to a funeral in Gold Run. One 
hundred thirty in procession, nearly all in town." On another occasion some 
of the largest mines shut down for a few hours to allow the miners and 
owners to attend the funeral of a little 12-year-old school girl. The gener- 
osity of the people was no less in evidence. The writer once went to a 
surprise party at Dutch Flat, at which a committee of Gold Run people 
presented to the preacher who served them on Sundays a present of $125. 

A Votary of Virgil — and of Bacchus 

Dances and social parties were often enjoyed ; and well-educated people 
were not infrequently met. The writer recalls one occasion in particular. At 
a social gathering one evening, it was reported that a drunken man was out- 
side talking to himself in a peculiar manner. On investigation it was found 
that he was a miner who had rather lost his grip on life, though a well- 
educated man, when sober a very likable man. On this particular evening 
he was intoxicated, and had evidently sat down on a log and fallen backward 
onto another and slid down between the two with his head and heels elevated. 
He was not hurt, and seemed quite comfortable. His queer language was 
only the result of a reminiscent mood, his mind and memory having gone 
back to his university days. When asked for an explanation of his queer 
actions, he answered by saying he was only reciting from memory Virgil's 
opening sentences : 

Arma virumque cano, Trioae qui primus a-b oris 
Italiam, fato profugus, Laviniaque venit 
Litora, . . . 

He claimed to be a graduate of Trinity, at Dublin. 

Charles Austin Bartlett 

One of the oldest residents in Gold Run, and no doubt the oldest in age, 
at the time of the writer's interviews with him not long before his death, 
was the late Charles Austin Bartlett, a native of Hope, Knox County, Maine. 
He lived in Eldorado County from 1854 to 1857, came to Placer County in 
1857, mining on the Middle Fork for two years, and then moved to Dutch 
Flat, and in 1863 to Gold Run, where he remained continuously there- 
after. He was born on February 25, 1833, and was married in December, 
1874, to Miss Ida Antonette Wilson; and they raised their family in Gold 
Run. There also the aged pioneer died, on February 14, 1924, and was buried 
in the village cemetery. At the time of his death he lacked but a few days 
of being ninety-one years of age. 

It was hard to get the old gentleman started on facts about Gold Run, 
but soon things were clearly fixed in his memory. He said the recent heavy 
overland fruit traffic recalled the early-day freight trains, by way of con- 
trast. A large early-day freight train of 1869 or 1870 generally consisted of 
nine cars, with a loading capacity of thirty tons, and was pulled by two 
small wood-burning engines. At the present time, cars with a capacity of 
fifty tons and over, and in number fifty-five to sixty in a single train, are 
pulled by two powerful oil-burning Malletts, sometimes with a rear-end 
pusher. The improvement in the passenger service is on the same scale. 
Now the railroad is a double-tracked one to Blue Canyon. 

Politically, the old gentleman was a sincere follower of General Jackson. 
He said Gold Run, during the Civil War, often cast 300 votes. On one occa- 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 167 

sion the election officers failed to furnish the voters any Democratic ballots, 
so that he and another Democratic voter were compelled to write out their 
own ballots and have them accepted. The only Democrats voting that day 
at Gold Run were himself and this other gentleman. 

A Fourth of July Celebration 

The aged pioneer recalled another worth}' event in the history of Gold 
Run. In 1870 the town proposed to have a respectable Fourth of July cele- 
bration, and a general invitation was extended. There were about 500 present 
for a free public dinner. A table 300 feet long was made down one side of 
Main Street. Small pines and cedars were cut and planted on each side for 
shade. An elaborate dinner was prepared, with able committees in charge 
of all departments. The committee on meats prepared liberally of roast beef, 
pork, veal and mutton ; and the other dinner committees were equally liberal 
in their preparations. Gold Run was to do the honors to the invited guests 
right royally. Everything in town was absolutely free, except whiskey: 
that was to be paid for. 

The first table was quickly filled at noon, and good cheer prevailed. 
A second and third were found necessary to feed the hungry crowd, but no 
roast meats could be found. The committee and cook declared a great plenty 
had been roasted, and concluded it had been stolen. The general committee 
was greatly mortified at the misfortune, but the meat committee was too 
full of liquid patriotism to explain how it happened. Next day the meat 
was found all neatly wrapped, boxed and stored in Harrison's saloon cellar, 
there to await the needs of the general committee for a possible second and 
third table-setting — a disgrace to the town, no doubt, though there were 
enough who thought it excusable, considering the day and occasion, and 
the extra effort made by the citizens of the town to put Gold Run forward 
as a place of public entertainment. The band played in its best style : the 
ladies of Gold Run entertained the visitors in their most charming manner ; 
but that roast meat committee is not forgiven to this day. 

A Jaunt with a Pioneer 

The writer recently asked his old friend, Mr. Bartlett, to recommend to 
him some young man with a good memory of old Gold Run, to go with and 
point out to the writer the homes and names of citizens along the main street 
of this typical mining town. The reply was, '"I am the only young man in 
town; I will go with you": and so he did. Starting at the east end of Main 
Street, the old man, much bent with his nearly ninety years, and leaning on 
his cane, moved up street toward the west and pointed out the landmarks 
of the old Gold Run of 1872, and of the town as it exists today. Let us 
stroll with him through the old town and listen to his comments. 

At the end of the street is a high, nearly perpendicular bank of about 
fifty feet, the site of the hydraulic mines. On the south side of the street 
was the old home of W. H. Kinder (the parents are now dead, and the 
children now live in Fresno County); this is now the location of a pear 
orchard. On the right side is the location of Sher. Kipp's cabin. Kipp was 
ditch man; he later went East, and died. The place is now covered by a fine 
growth of young pines. Next on the right are the high banks and basin 
of Cedar Creek reservoir. These banks are now covered by manzanita and 
small pines. On the left is Barrett Street, or the county road leading pasl 
the Barrett home place, the improvements on which are gone. Next on the 



168 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

right is the Danforth house. All of the Danforths are now dead but one 
daughter. On the left is the old home place of S. D. Moore and wife. The 
old people are dead and the remaining children reside in Tulare County. 
The lot has a few old apple trees, young locust trees and good-sized pines, 
but no buildings. Next on the right is the old Munson house, now inhabited. 
Mr. Munson was once a county officer. The parents are dead and the re- 
maining children are in San Francisco. One son, Grant, has been in the 
office of the county clerk of San Francisco for twenty years, in the marriage- 
license department, by reason whereof he was nicknamed "Cupid." Next 
on the left is the Judd residence, unoccupied; and adjoining it stands the 
Bailey house, repaired but not occupied. Next on the right stands the 
Nate Wentworth house, occupied ; and next on the left a former saloon, now 
a grass plot. Next on the right, the Hoskins pipe shop, now bare ground. 
Hoskins moved to Denver, and probably is now dead. Next on the left 
stood Kryger's Hotel, now a grass plot. Next on the right, Wardner's drug- 
store, now bare ground. Next on the left, Schnabel's old store and living 
rooms, still standing, but closed and empty. Next on the right stood a 
restaurant. Several lots at this point are occupied, and highly improved by 
two old gentlemen bachelors, new-comers, with lawn, flowers and shrubs — 
a small oasis. Next on the left was Jo Dixon's butcher shop, now a grass 
plot. Next on the right, Webber's saloon, now vacant land. Webber's 
widow and daughter now live in Auburn. Next on the left, Harrison's 
saloon, showing the hole beneath for the big basement, but otherwise bare 
except for the grass plot and a few rocks. Next on the right stood a 
bakery and saloon, but the site is now bare ground. Next on the left was 
an old drug-store, later a grocery store ; but the place is now vacant and for- 
lorn. Next on the right was Oliver's store and basement, the latter now 
filled with small trees. Next on the left is the site of the Gold Run Hotel, 
now a grass plot. Next on the right is' Side Street — the road to Dutch Flat. 
Next on the left, Hacket or Moody Hotel. All that remains is a big depres- 
sion which was formerly a cellar, now covered by a few rocks and by grass. 
Next on the right, Ike Leach's or the Essex Saloon, the basement of which 
is filled by locust trees and pines. Next on the right is Odd Fellows' Hall 
and Town Hall — now bare ground. These were later moved down to Kry- 
ger's Hotel. Next on the left is Grant Street, leading south, with Gold Run 
Creek crossing it. Next on the right was the bank and express office. 
Banker Brown is dead, and his wife lives in San Francisco. Next on the 
left are small growing pines and vacant lots. Next on the right, where the 
flag-pole stood, are the miners' ditches, only one of which is now flowing 
into and through the town. Formerly the following ditches came into and 
through the town : South Yuba Ditch, Miners' Ditch, Rattlesnake Ditch, 
Indiana Hill Ditch, and Cedar Creek Mining Company's Ditch. And lastly 
comes the public road running over the mountains, now known as the 
Lincoln Highway and Victory Highway, crossing the Southern Pacific Rail- 
road's double tracks by a high bridge. The old railroad passenger depot 
was at the right, in the railroad cut, crowded down to and partly under the 
flume of a big water ditch. 

Few mining camps were better supplied with ditches. Only one of 
the five now runs past the town, the South Yuba Ditch, which continues past 
Colfax and Auburn and serves the lower part of the county as an irrigation 
ditch, now owned by the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 169 

Across the railroad tracks and west of the public highway was the "Nob 
Hill" of Gold Run. Banker Brown and Merchant Oliver, with a few other-. 
lived on a choice tract of rising ground called "Railroad Terrace." There 
were streets then, for there are straight lines of locust trees, the almost uni- 
versal street tree used in early days. Some of these trees are now over two 
feet in diameter: and one big black oak in Main Street is now three and a 
half feet in diameter. There are depressions in the ground where houses once 
stood, and an occasional old fruit tree, the remnant of an orchard. ( >ne 
small house of three rooms, with a deep well on a large lot partly fenced, is 
all that remains showing habitation on the ridge. The next northerly is the 
one-room schoolhouse, with wood-shed; and next beyond, the most closely 
inhabited portion of the townsite of Gold Run — the City of the Dead, which 
will now be briefly described. 

Gold Run Cemetery 

One of the surest signs by which to judge of the humane, social and 
moral characteristics of a village is to be found in a visit to the local cemetery, 
where one may note how the people bury their dead, and what respect and 
care are given to the graves of departed loved ones. The old-time Gold Run 
shows the right spirit in its cemetery. Many of the old graves are sur- 
rounded by costly iron fences; many have fine marble and polished-granite 
headstones; there seems to be a continuous loving care bestowed. Now. 
after the old town is reduced to a shadow of its former numbers, it is 
struggling to put a neat iron-post and wire fence around its village cemetery. 
Forest fires have swept over the hill cruelly in recent years. The cemetery 
covers the highest hill in the townsite. To the west is the gorge of Bear 
River, and beyond are the white-graveled remains of the Nevada County 
mines; while to the north are the mines and higher hills of Placer County, 
to the east the Sierra Nevadas, and to the south Cold Spring Mountain. 

Effects of the Sawyer Decision 

Briefly, the cause of all this apparent desolation will now be told. The 
reason is as old as the common law of England and the common or civil 
law of the United States, as old, indeed, as the civil law of Rome and of the 
states of Europe; and briefly and simply stated, it is this, that no man shall 
use his own property in such manner that the destruction of his neighbor's 
property shall follow. That fine gold was in the soil in the Gold Run district 
from the grass-roots down to the bed-rock, is an admitted fact: and it i^ 
equally true that the miner, in most cases, was the first owner of the gov- 
ernment land, and that gold-mining is in itself a lawful occupation : but the 
only known method of successful extraction of the gold was and is by the 
hydraulic process, a method which washes down vast hills oi soil, gravel, 
mud and fine silt, and fills the rivers and bays, thus destroying navigation 
and covering the lands of others. This is the unavoidable sequence o) 
hydraulic mining; and hence the old, old principle was invoked; and the 
court heard, considered and decided. The people of the State of California 
brought suit in the superior court of Sacramento Count} against the ('.old 
Run Ditch and Mining Company, to prevent further hydraulic mining; and 
on June 12. 1882, they got judgment perpetually enjoining the defendants 
from depos : ting boulders, cobbles, gravel, etc.. in the American River, and 
for costs taxed at S6.190.85. This judgment was supplemented by another 
by Judge Sawyer, in the United States circuit court, in another action; an 1 
hydraulic mining ceased. 



170 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

The stopping of hydraulic mining in Placer County was a sad blow to 
nearly half our population. The assessment rolls of the county fell off about 
$2,000,000 following the unfavorable decision of the United States and State 
courts. 

H. H. Brown, formerly a banker at Gold Run, gave figures at the noted 
trial when mining was stopped by the State, as follows : In 1865 the mining 
population was about 250; in 1866, 400; while the census of 1880 gave 377. 
The gold shipped through the express office from 1865 to 1878 amounted to 
$4,500,000; and through Dutch Flat, $1,625,000— a total in twelve years of 
$6,125,000. In 1865 it was $400,000; in 1866, $600,000; and in 1867, $500,000. 

Mention has already been made of the five ditches formerly in use at 
Gold Run. At the peak of the mining industry, it is stated on good authority, 
16,000 miner's inches of water were sold each twenty-four hours, and the 
price was fifty cents per inch. This was the highest price paid for water; 
in later years it sold as low as ten cents per inch for twenty-four hours' use. 

Considering the wages paid in 1923, the wages paid miners from 1870 
to 1880 may be considered low. A foreman received $5, and the ordinary 
mining man $3 per day, and later $2.50 per day; and mining was considered 
a hard, laborious, often wet and dangerous job. 

The Father of Gold Run 

O. W. Hollenbeck may be considered the father of Gold Run, but when 
first laid out it was called Mountain Springs, where Mr. Hollenbeck first 
settled and engaged in business. In 1859 he went to Little York, in Nevada 
County ; but in 1861 he returned to Placer County and began developments 
here. He secured a tract of land and proceeded to lay out the present town. 
He built a hotel, secured a postoffice for the village, and was appointed its 
first postmaster ; and the town took the official name of Gold Run. In 
1862 roads were built connecting with Dutch Flat and Colfax. Railroad 
work soon followed. Hydraulic mines were opened, and Gold Run, in 1865, 
was one of the promising mining camps of the county. 

A Mining Town Preempted 

The citizens of Gold Run were late in applying for a townsite and 
titles to their lots, through the superior judge of the county; but in March 
1889, the survey and plat were filed, and the judge was ready to issue the 
titles as applied for. The lot claimants, however, were confronted earlier 
in the proceedings by a preemption claim, filed on most of the townsite by 
one J. L. Stoakes, commonly called "Lon" Stoakes by his intimate acquaint- 
ances. The story as related by J. D. Stewart, then a resident of Gold Run, 
is substantially as follows : 

An injunction had been granted by a State court against the Gold Run 
D'tch & Mining Company prohibiting hydraulic mining. The Gold Run 
Ditch & Mining Company was specially enjoined at the suit of California 
on June 12, 1882. The citizens thought best to apply for a townsite and get 
perfect title for their home lots, and proceeded to do so. 

It had been long known that the mountain lands at the elevation of 
Gold Run, Dutch Flat, Alta, and even as high up as Shady Run, raised a first- 
class pear and winter apple. What prompted Stoakes to yearn for an 
apple ranch covering the town of Gold Run is not known. Perhaps he 
thought the town would soon be abandoned by the mining people, as with- 
out mining there would be no need of a townsite. Then, too, it was fair 
rollina' land, and irrigating; water was abundant from the numerous min- 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 171 

ing ditches. What the true reason was, no one seems to know ; but the fact 
is, that one night Stoakes or his men ran a single strand of barbed-wire 
fence around a large portion of Gold Run, and he then started in actively 
to make his claim good as a preemptor of the land for farming and orchard 
purposes. 

One Pat Doland promptly cut the encircling wire fence down ; no doubt 
others did the same. Stoakes vigorously maintained his rights as a valid 
preemptor, and it is said some timid people paid for the release of their 
lots. Finally, however, the preemption claim was abandoned and the Gold 
Run citizens got full title to their lots. 

The whole proceedings may have been a huge mountain joke. A single 
barbed-wire fence around most of Gold Run, and an active claim of a pre- 
emption right against a discouraged lot of mining people, seeking to get 
a government title to their homes, sounds like a joke, surely. Lon Stoakes 
had a host of friends. Later he was a hotel keeper, was an active poli- 
tician, and could make a rattling good speech. 

Gold Run Today 

Bordering on Main Street, up town, or at the new depot, there is a 
modern oil station of the railroad company, a pumping station, and an 
immense storage tank with the necessary improvements and appliances of 
an up-to-date railroad service station. Fifty years ago railroading at Gold 
Run was quite primitive in comparison with the present. In winter time 
the few section men often were busy keeping the track clear just south of 
the depot. The north bank was of a light-colored, soapy, sliding material 
which often slid down, covering the track. The fuel then used was sixteen- 
to twenty-inch pine wood. Long tiers of this were piled at the stations, 
and sometimes at other convenient places. "When "wood'ng-up time" came, 
everybody got busy. Sometimes a couple of "Weary Willies" would work 
diligently, with the assured belief that they would not be molested if they 
sat quietly behind the wood piled on the tender. An old-timer of Gobi 
Run says the freight brakemen often grumbled at the character of freight 
unloaded at the depot, claiming it was invaribly flour and heavy sheet 
iron for making hydraulic iron pipe. About 1890 the passenger depot was 
moved, with the freight sheds, about a half-mile up the track to an open, 
level location. This, of course, produced an up-town and down-town situ- 
ation — a problem the writer is slightly familiar with. Soon the postoffice 
and store followed, and also a hotel was erected, which catered to the general 
public and the railroad employees until it was unfortunately burned. There 
is a deep cut easterly from the new depot. Through this are two main 
lines with passing tracks, one of them being over a mile long, besides a 
turning "V" for the big engines, and also spur tracks. The depot main- 
tains a full day-and-night service. 

Up to 1905 coal was used mostly for fuel purposes, though a tew oil 
burners were already being tested. After 1905 the engines were equipped 
with oil-burners, and the improvements already mentioned were installe I. 
so as to handle the new fuel properly. At the same time the quantit) il 
water for use of the engines was greatly increased, and also the quantity 
of sand used. The most imposing improvement is the large storage oil 
tank on the southeast bank, above the tracks. It is thirty feet high, and 
115 feet in diameter — quite a journey around it. This immense tank holds 
55,000 barrels, or, at forty-two gallons per barrel, J..^l< ».' " >( ) gallons. During 



172 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

a recent summer month over 2.217,000 gallons of oil were delivered to loco- 
motives, 8,000,000 gallons of water and 200 tons of sand. The sand is mostly 
used for sanding out the flues in the boiler of the locomotives, to remove 
the accumulated soot. The sand has to be handled four times in drying, 
screening, etc., before it is fit for use. In one particular month 201 cars of 
oil were received, which made a gain of five feet in the large storage tank. 
It is never quite full, but is not allowed to get too low. The outside gauge 
shows the rise and fall, as the tank is being filled or run off into the heating 
tank as required. 

There is also used a small oil tank, holding 65,000 gallons, from which 
all engines are filled. This is the heating tank. By a system of coils this 
oil is kept hot, ready for use in the engines, and also to keep it thin, so that 
it will run quickly to the tenders. A busy month signifies the fueling of 
about 1375 engines. To promptly handle this exacting business requires 
eight men — a foreman, two pump men, and five sand and oil men. 

The grounds about the pumping station are nicely set out to flowers. 
The residence of the manager, Charles C. Fitch, with the yard full of fruit 
trees and flowers, is solidly fenced in by the immense turning "Y." In 
twenty-one years Mr. Fitch has had the satisfaction of seeing a small coal- 
fueling station grow into a very large oil, water and sanding station, mod- 
ern in every respect. 

At a recent special election, held throughout the county for the pur- 
pose of bonding Placer County, returns at Gold Run showed : First pro- 
position, $100,000 proposed bonds for a Hall of Records — total vote cast, 
20; yes, 12; no, 8. Second proposition, $175,000 proposed bonds for a new 
County Hospital — yes 14; no 6. 

Dutch Flat, three miles northeast, shipped three carloads of fine pears 
last year; and the Gold Run people, are now planting the Bartlett pear 
in their vacant lots, some having acreage proportions. Some of the back 
yards are cut off clean and sharp by mining banks, in many cases nearly 
perpendicular and from fifty to 200 feet in height. There is a sort of cement 
soil beneath the surface ; and as a result the surface soil retains the moisture 
well. 

A School District Without Trustees 

The people of Gold Run refuse to elect school trustees, because no one 
will serve ; they even refuse an appointment. Our State superintendent of 
schools some years ago made a ruling that school trustees would be liable 
for damages happening to school children on school grounds. Of course, 
the ruling was properly qualified, the intended meaning being that if school 
trustees carelessly put up weak, defective, and knowingly unsafe swings, 
cross-bars, and pleasure appliances, they would be liable to damages in 
case of resulting injury. But explanations did not explain, hence no school 
trustees. The county superintendent is compelled to hire the teacher, pay 
her, and act as trustee, all in one. 

But, nevertheless, everything is lovely in Gold Run as regards the 
school question. It is the meeting place for the modern annual "play-day*' 
gatherings of the school children : for no other district in the neighbor- 
hood has such fine, ample grounds. The whole of the depopulated "Nob 
Hill" is a fine, roomy, grassy sward, and Main Street is the finest sort of 
a race-course for the children, with nothing to interfere with their games. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 173 

OLD BARS AND MINING CAMPS ON THE AMERICAN RIVER 

On September 21, 1923, and during a subsequent visit at the home of 
Maurice Andrew Kelly and his wife, Mrs. Mary Kelly, the following facts 
regarding the old bars and mining camps on the American River were 
secured. Mr. Kelly was born in the month of February, 1855. on Manhattan 
Bar, on the American River, and has lived on Rattlesnake Bar most of his 
life. He is totally blind, but has all his faculties unimpaired, his memory 
being lively and accurate. On request, he gave the writer many facts about 
the "bars" and mining camps on the American River, especially on the 
Placer County side, though in many cases the bars were on both sides of 
the river, the major part of the miners being located on the most convenient 
business and residence sites. Many of the old-day miners and business men 
fiinally settled in Placer County when the river mining declined. The bars 
were in nearly every case first mined in 1849 and 1850, and generally were at 
the high tide of their prosperity in 1860, or had begun to decline at that 
time owing to lack of good pay dirt, too great depth to bed-rock, or shallow 
and easily and early worked-out diggings. 

Beginning in the southeast corner of the valley portion of Placer County, 
Dry Bones Bar was the first bar mentioned. A dead man's body had floated 
down the river in 1849, and was washed up on the shore during high water; 
hence the name. Fine gold was found mixed with the sand in the dead 
man's clothes. Two prominent miners on the bar were Sylvester Chase and 
Horatio Nelson Sargent. Chase later moved to Nevada City and then to 
Washington, in Nevada County, where he became prominent as a hotel man ; 
he also ran a butcher shop and a stage line. He died in 1886. 

Beal's Bar was a rich bar and a lively camp in early days. It ranked 
with Rattlesnake and Horseshoe Bars in importance till it was finally worked, 
out. There was a crossing there, a ferry boat. 

The next bar was about one mile up the river, mainly on the Eldorado 
side of the river, and was called Massachusetts Bar. 

Next above came Condemned Bar, and above that a short distance was 
Carlton Bar. a high bar with hydraulic washing. The main business men 
and traders here were Stanley and J. D. Pratt. Later they moved to old 
Auburn Station and conducted a store there at the end of the railroad. Later 
still Mr. Pratt moved to Roseville and conducted a store there. He was 
afterwards one of the supervisors of Placer County, and died in Roseville. 

Long Bar, next up the river, lay on both sides of the stream, the part 
on the Placer side being commonly called Dotan's Bar. Robert Cummings, 
<>ii the Eldorado side, had a hotel, store and general trading post, and also 
a livery stable filled with fine horses. Dotan's Bar was a high bar. Among 
the miners was a family by the name of Shepherd, Jo Silva, Peter Mung and 
Jim Curry. The last two later lived and died in Loomis. Of the farmers 
near by were the families of J. H. Nixon and the Mansfields. This bar was 
known as a very rich bar. producing much gold. 

The next was Granite Bar, also a rich one. Sonic of the miners as 
late as 1860 were Harry Cornish. William Chadwick and Jack Storey. 

Next was Kehoe (pronounced Kaho) Canyon, a deep gorge m the river. 
About 185') or 1860 Charles Swan and I'.. W. Houseworth mined there. Both 
of these men later moved to Auburn. Mr. Swan and family lived for man} 
years in the house now known as the Chamberlain house, on Lincoln Way. 
There were some wire cables which carried a suspended flume lor mining 
water across Kehoe Canyon, which cables were later hauled up to Rattle- 
Snake Bar and were used as part of the suspension bridge at that place. 



174 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Smith's Point Bar was also a rich bar. The river cut it through, leaving 
good mining on both sides. 

There was a small village, Little Horseshoe, on the Placer side. The 
Hannigan family were prominent residents there. Over the river a Mr. 
Peterson kept a store. 

The next was Horseshoe Bar proper, a rich, extensive bar with a large 
trading station and many miners. 

There is an interesting tale connected with the naming of Horseshoe 
Bar. Two young sailors, namely, Capt. Robert Capson and his companion, 
who was called "Captain Kidd," came to Sutter's Fort in 1847. They se- 
cured a trapper's outfit, made a canoe out of boards, and started on their 
trip up the American River with a view to hunting, trapping and exploring 
the country. They got up the North Fork as far as the present site of 
Horseshoe Bar, and there decided to make their permanent camp, as game 
was abundant. One of the young men crossed the river at this point ; and 
going directly northeast, as he supposed, into the wild woods, he soon came 
to another river. This puzzled him for a moment, but he concluded that it 
must be the same stream which he had so recently crossed. Following 
along the bank of the river, his theory was proved to be correct ; he found 
that the river described a great bend in the shape of a horseshoe. When 
he reached camp that night, he remarked to his friend that the river made 
a regular "horseshoe bend." After camping at this point for some time, 
they decided to go still further north ; but finding the river too turbulent 
for crossing, they returned to their camp, where they decided to leave 
their boat and belongings, and struck off afoot across the mountains to the 
South Fork of the American River. Before they left, they wrote on the 
boat, with a charred stick, the name, "Horseshoe Bend." 

They then crossed the mountains to the South Fork of the American 
River to the place where they had heard that a man by the name of John 
Marshall was building a mill. When they arrived at the place, now the 
site of Coloma, they found a group of men gathered there who were in a 
state of great excitement over the discovery of gold. Thereupon they 
resolved to go back to their camp and bring their provisions, and mine for 
gold. Finally reaching their old camp, they found that their boat and all 
their provisions were gone. After a short search they found a number of 
men camped on a flat (at present known as Smith's Flat). These men, 
nine in number, were all Mormons. They also had engaged in hunting 
and trapping, and had their head camp on an island at the intersection 
of the North and South Forks of the American River just above the present 
site of the city of Folsom, which island became known as Mormon Island. 
When these Mormons heard of the gold-discovery, they started up the 
North Fork for the purpose of digging for gold. Finding the boat, they 
appropriated the provisions and used the lumber for the purpose of making 
a rocker and cradle, which they were using when discovered by the two 
young owners. They were quarrelsome ; and when the two young sailors 
demanded reparations, a fight ensued in which "Captain Kidd" was killed. 

Robert Capson fled to Sacramento, where he notified General Sutter 
of the murder. General Sutter sent a party up the river to investigate the 
matter. When they arrived at the scene of the murder, they could find no 
trace of the Mormons, who had evidently fled ; but they found "Captain 
Kidd's" body and buried it. The name "Horseshoe Bend," first written in 
charcoal letters on the side of the boat, was by common usage and consent 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 175 

changed to "Horseshoe Bar" by the miners. This name still clings to the 
place, although little remains to tell the story of the lively gold-mining 
town of early days. Hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of placer 
gold was taken out of the river bottom at this place. In 1854 Horseshoe 
Bar was a booming town. It had hotels, rooming-houses, gambling-houses 
and livery stables, grocery and dry-goods stores, and a full complement 
of saloons. Sweet and Barney kept a hotel and conducted a large general 
business there. In its best days several thousands of people lived in the 
village. Forbes and Shotgun (German) were fruit and vegetable men. Nich- 
olas was a blacksmith and carpenter, and Robert French also was a prominent 
resident. The James Smyth family have lived at the bar from very early 
days, some of the children still living there on the old homestead. They are 
about the last survivors of a once flourishing place. 

A large theater was built in 1855, as a natural sequel to the great 
success of a home-talent play, entitled the "Farmer's Daughter." Another 
factor that contributed to the building of this theater was the fact that one 
Horace Mansur established a dancing school in an old store building in 
1854. when there were only seven women in the place that could dance, 
and when only one set of quadrille could be danced at a time, because there 
were not enough women partners for two sets. But there were over 300 
miners to patronize the dance. In view of the recent revival of Horseshoe 
Bar as a recreation park, it is of interest to know that this first theater 
became a great amusement place. It was built in the rear of the old Dover 
House. The first play ever put on was entitled the "Loan of the Lover," 
and was enacted by an itinerant theater troupe, consisting of father, mother, 
two daughters and a son, the star actress being a ten-year-old daughter. 
Lottie Crabtree, who later became a world-famed actress and dancer, played 
at Horseshoe Bar. James YVallack's New York troupe played there one 
night, as did also "Bacchus" and Burche's Minstrels. "Kee" Rankin's troupe 
also graced the theater's stage, and many other singers and actors of great 
note visited the place. Lee Brothers' Circus pitched its tent and entertained 
a large circus crowd here at one time, and the noted prizefighter, John 
Morissy, gave a boxing exhibition here. 

Milk Punch Bar, next above, had very rich but deep mining. It lay 
mostly on the Eldorado side of the river. 

Whiskey Bar was next up the river from the last-mentioned one. with 
the temperance name. It also was very rich and the bed-rock was deep: 
it lay mostly on the Eldorado side of the river, but it seems to have raised 
a good crop of Placer County people. Jim McGinley was a miner, and also 
John Hawkins, the father of Mrs. Maurice A. Kelly. James Mahon and 
Tom Curley were later at Colfax. John Connors, one-time miners' license 
collector in Placer County, was later in life Auburn's globe-trotter, or 
over-seas traveler. There was at the bar a Chinaman, now known as "' lid 
Dennis McCarty," a cook about 1858 for the big mining company. He was 
then a boy of sixteen or eighteen years of age, but is now living near 
Loom is and nearing his dotage, though still noted fur a very remarkable 
memory for dates and important events. Poor old "Dennis" has been sent 
to the Placer County Hospital several times in the last few years, but as 
often runs away, saying it is a good place for women, but not for men. 

It is said Whiskey Bar had the first wire suspension bridge over the 
American River. It was crossed by a prominent road, leading from Sacra- 
mento to Georgetown, and over the mountains t<> Carson Valley. A toll 



176 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

keeper was murdered here by the Indians ; when he tried to collect toll from 
them, they stabbed him to death. The bridge went out in 1862. Mr. Kelly's 
father that year superintended the hauling of the cables up to Rattlesnake 
Bar, where they became the cables for the well-known Rattlesnake sus- 
pension bridge, built by William Gwynn, and still in use and in good repair, 
joining two noted bars. Rattlesnake and Wild Goose Flat. Horace Mansur 
and another man, Wilkes, hauled the cables with their ox teams. 

Whiskey Bar also had a sawmill, run by a man named Bell. He cut 
most of his logs up the river and floated them down to his mill. The lumber 
was mostly used by the river miners for flumes and bar mining. Bell's two 
sons, Tom and Jesse — big, patriotic schoolboys — went East and joined the 
Union Army during thte Civil War. The parents later moved to Shasta 
County. Bob Martin and a Mr. Martines built a big wheel for mining opera- 
tions. They had an incline shaft back into the hills. One of the Bell boys, 
Aaron, later moved to Shasta County and in 1879 became superior judge. 

On the Placer side was a hotel and trading post, kept by John and 
Kate Douglas (his wife), a sort of road-house. The Morgan family lived 
here ; they had two sons who lost their lives in the Virginia City mines. A 
carpenter named Craig, and Dr. Miller, were also residents. The old Dr. 
Miller place is now the Hector Ranch. There was a high bar at the same 
place, known as Boston Flat, which was worked but little. Dr. Miller fought 
the miners off. 

The next was Beaver Bar, mostly on the Eldorado side. It was called 
a rich bar. Many years after it was discovered and worked out, as supposed, 
John Boggs, Jo Smith and Ed Culver, all of Newcastle, tried to reopen the 
river claim. 

High Bar, or Oakland Flat, came next. This bar was very rich. It 
was worked by Peter M-aher, later a fruit-farmer on the Harmon grade below 
Auburn. Jo Duncan, Steve Harnet,. Jim Sexton, later killed at Cisco, a 
brother of William Sexton, third Sheriff of Placer County, and also Charles 
Wilson, were miners there. 

Next was Ramsey's Bar. Andy Ramsey was drowned in the river in 
1863. There was rich river mining here. 

From Whiskey Bar, past Ramsey's Bar, and up to Rattlesnake Bar, 
the bars and river were worked by the Gaylord Company with a dredger, a 
few years ago. 

Rattlesnake Bar was first worked in 1849. It was located just below 
the present river bridge. The town then was on the river, but was later 
forced up on the hill. One of the early-day stores was kept by a family 
by the name of Lobner. Fisher, McDonald, and Sam Beck were also store- 
keepers ; and Charles and William Land had a store. William Land later 
was the famous hotel-keeper of Sacramento. Charles Silva bought out the 
Land store. Mrs. Kelly shows a rare old daguerreotype view of hydraulic 
mining and old receipted grocery bills from Charles Silva's store. David 
Cooper bought out the McDonald store. Mr. Pauper ran a butcher shop. 
Samuel Morris conducted the American Hotel here, and later the American 
Hotel in Auburn. Captain See walked out of a window of the American 
Hotel in Auburn and was killed, presumably in his sleep or in a trance. Asa 
Plank also ran a hotel here, and later a hotel at Colfax. Bill Fennimore, 
a Mr. Esterbrook, and Alex Cassidy were blacksmiths. The Adams Express 
Company's office was managed by Dan Rice, later of Newcastle. There, 
was a theater, and also two livery stables, with a daily stage to Auburn. 
Hank Kilmer had a stable and drove stage. He later located north of 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 177 

Colfax. Hank Monk, the noted Horace Greeley stage driver, also drove 
a daily stage out of Rattlesnake. Moses Andrews was justice of the peace. 
He built the original Kelly homestead. "Rattlesnake Dick" (Richard Barter) 
made the town his headquarters for several years. He was killed near the 
function House, above Auburn, by the Placer Count}- officers. Kate Hayes, 
noted singer, sang in the theater and was showered with coin, as all favorites 
were by the liberal miners. 

There were over 300 votes cast in the town in 1857. Dr. Frey, later of 
Newcastle, and also Dr. Bronson and Dr. Thomas were residents there. 
Both the latter moved to Auburn in later years. Lawyer Jim Coffroth and 
other attorneys practiced there. John McBride, the elder, and Johnny, his 
son. later of Penryn and still later railroad agent at Clipper Gap, both lived at 
the old town in early days. The town burned down in 1864. This seemed 
to be its death blow : it never revived to its old prominence. 

There were two wire suspension foot bridges across the river before 
the present wagon-road bridge. The first one was destroyed before 1862. 
and the second one during the high water of that year. The abutments of 
those bridges are near the present bridge. Captain Kidd conducted the foot 
bridges ; twenty-five cents was the toll for a single footman. 

< Ine of the richest discoveries of gold was made in April. 1853. by 
John C. Barnett & Company on the flat where the old town stood. After 
reaching bed-rock the first panful netted $15.27; the next bucketful of 
dirt contained $20. This find created great excitement. The pay-dirt was 
from twenty to sixty feet deep, however, and quite expensive to get out. 
Substantial buildings were put up. and the town grew rapidly. It was 
noted in early days for being a pretty town. The inhabitants took great 
pride in their homes and the town in general. Gardens, orchards and vine- 
yards were planted; roses and vines were in the yards and over the neat 
cottages; but as said above, the almost total destruction of the town in 
1864 discouraged the people, and the town never revived. 

Ed Silva, merchant at Newcastle, and ex-supervisor in his district in 
Placer County, was born at Rattlesnake in 1854. 

Wild Goose Flat, over in Eldorado County at the end of the suspension 
bridge mentioned, was another of the very rich bars on the American. The 
following miners once worked there: Henry Albee. Dan Hogan, Jo Smith, 
Charles Brown, all of whom later lived in Newcastle, and Jim Hutchinson. 
.Mark Dow. Captain Kidd, John McBride, B. F. Myers, and Horace Daven- 
port, coffin-maker of that locality. Each town furnished its own coffins. 

The next liar above the bridge, on both sides of the river, was called 
Porenz Bar. It was only moderately rich. Jim Sexton and a man by the 
name of L'mstead mined there in the early fifties. 

Kentucky Bar. a rich bar that furnished work for many miners, was 
next. A company of twenty-five men mined on the bar in 1849. < hie. whose 
name was Sargent, told Mr. Kelly, years afterwards, that his company used 
a common grocery steelyard to divide and weigh out the daily or weckP 
share of gold to each miner of his company. Bob and Tom Hannigan had 
another rich mine; and John McBride and a Mr. McDonald also had a rich 
mine at Kentucky Bar. getting as high as $150 per pan. The riser was 
flumed at that place. Gus Vollerson also worked there. ' >ne >•{ the Sargenl 
partners is buried on the Kelly fruit farm. Another man of tin- Sargent 
Company, Sam Thompson, was killed by a rattlesnake. When lie got into 
his bed. there were two of the reptiles there before him. 



178 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Next was Quartz Ravine Bar, very rich and very deep, so deep that it 
really has never been bottomed. The crude machinery of those days did 
not enable them to get the water out. 

Next was Willow Bar, which was exceedingly rich. The river cut it 
into two parts, about half in each county. On the Placer County side was 
a little town known as James' Point. Dr. Miller lived there, and N. S. 
Martin was a local miner, carpenter and boatman. He later died in Auburn. 
On the Eldorado side was a thriving gambling house, running night and 
day in the early fifties. A large darkey settlement was opposite James' Point, 
and among the residents were John Banks, William Davis, George Fisher, 
Ike Mulligan and others. 

There was a ferry crossing between Willow Bar and Patrick's Bar, 
which was next up the river. McEldry ran the ferry-boat as late as 1854. 
A pinch of gold dust was the fare for each passage. Steps down to the 
river are still there. McEldry and five others are buried at James' Point in 
unmarked graves. 

The writer was shown a nugget from Patrick's Bar, taken out in later 
years. Early-day bars were very rich. The nugget, worth from forty to 
forty-five dollars, is of clear gold, something like an Indian arrowhead, and 
was discovered and picked up ten years ago. This bar is still mined. On 
September 20, 1857, the Down East Company lost its flume by high water, 
and the bar never has been thoroughly worked since. Some of the company 
were Henry Albee, John McBride, Mr. McDonald, and Jo Smith. Farther 
up, there was a -mine run by Lewis and George Curl, later of Rocklin ; and 
the river gorge was mined by Owen King, Richard Gildersleeve and Andy 
Holden, later superintendent of the Placer County Hospital. It was a 
rich mine. 

Mormon Bar was next above. It was rich and was mostly on the Placer 
County side. It was mined by Ralph Boles and William Sexton, and others. 
A high bar there, which was later mined out by Milt and Pete Crary, was 
located on what is now the Ira Avery place, in a very pretty fruit section 
directly on the American River. 

The next bar was Lacy's Bar, located mostly on the Placer County 
side, and very rich. Ralph Boles, Peter Snyder, Jo Kelly and others worked 
there. A little trading post was conducted in the place in the early days, 
which later was turned into a China store, run by Ah Sack, who was drowned 
in 1859 in the American River. 

The first school at Lacy's Bar was opened in 1859. It was a pay school, 
pay-as-you-enter, fifty cents per week, taught by Mrs. Turner. This was 
the origin of Rattlesnake School. Lacy's Bar is now the orchard of Joseph 
Kelly, and is conducted by his daughter, Mrs. Johnson. 

Manhattan Bar was a big mining camp, all on the Placer County side. 
Mr. Kelly's father, with Charles Shields and Mr. Wells, had a store and 
boarding-house there in 1854-1855. A ferry was run by Ned Cook. A road 
led up to Auburn and to Cooper's Ravine on the Eldorado side. A wagon 
road connected both counties. A Cherokee Indian, by name Sharaneau, lived 
there before telegraph times. He was used as a rapid dispatch bearer and 
runner. The William Greeley family, Jo Kelly family, Michael Kelly family 
and others were prominent there. The bar was a very rich one. 

Vigilant Bar was next. The last mining done there was done by 
Robert Hannigan and William Sexton in 1860. 

The next bar, Poco Tempo, was worked by Chilenos. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 179 

New York Bar came next, and after that came a small bar. Co vote Bar, 
where Folsom Ravine comes into the river. 

Oregon Bar was next. The Auburn and Centerville (now Pilot Hill) 
ferry and road were run by Sanford Miller, but the ferry was discontinued 
in 1862. This was a fairly good mining bar. 

The next bar was a small one, called Poverty Bar. This is now covered 
by the North Fork dam. 

Maurice A. Kelly says that Ralph Boles was one of the most active and 
useful men on the river bars. His activities extended from Mormon Bar to 
Manhattan Bar. 

Post Offices of Placer County in 1863 

While some of the old mining towns of Placer County are being men- 
tioned it might be interesting to enumerate the names of the post offices of 
1860. They were as follows: Neilsburg, J. C. Neil, postmaster; Lisbon, 
G. W. Applegate. postmaster; Illinoistown, B. Brickell, postmaster; Rattle- 
snake, D. S. Beach, postmaster; Dutch Flat, Chas. Seffens, postmaster; 
Mountain Springs, H. A. Brown, postmaster; Iowa City, S. N. Cahin. post- 
master; Forest Hill, R. Parkhurst, postmaster; Michigan Bluff, F. S. Was- 
heim, postmaster ; Grizzly Bear House, E. D. C. Faskett, postmaster ; Yan- 
kee Jims, Win. Duck, postmaster; Ophirville, D. Choate, postmaster; Vir- 
ginia, A. W. Lyons, postmaster ; Auburn, R. Gordon, postmaster ; Damas- 
cus, T. Moreland, postmaster. 

Of these fifteen early-day offices, nine have ceased to exist as postoffice 
towns, and only nine are known as voting precincts. 

By way of contrast, Auburn now has six voting precincts, with a 
total of 1483 registered voters, a main postoffice and a branch "A" for 
the older part of the city. Roseville, a flourishing railroad junction city, 
has eight voting precincts, with registered voters aggregating 2161 ; and 
there is a large, roomy postoffice, with a postmaster, one assistant post- 
master, and four clerks. The postmaster also has under him four regu- 
lar mail-carriers and one temporary. About twenty years ago, before the 
railroad yards were moved to Roseville, the postmaster could do all the 
work himself, sprinkle down the front porch occasionally, and then sit out 
in front in his easy chair'and talk politics and the weather three-fourths of 
his time. Now an exacting government and 6000 patrons keep him busy. 

Ditches and Canals in the County Before 1860 

In the following list are enumerated some of the ditches in use dur- 
ing early mining days, together with their length, cost, etc. 

Owl Creek Ditch, from Devil's Canon: Length, 3 miles; capacity, 150 
inches ; cost, $500. 

Paradise Ditch, from Todds Valley to Paradise and Spanish 
Bar Bridge: Length, 10 miles; size, 200 inches; cost $800. 

Union Water Company Ditch, from Shirt Tail and Brushy Canon: 
Capital stock $90,000; value, $15,000. 

Independent Ditch, from Volcano Canon: Length. 8 miles; capacity, 
250 inches; value, $10,000. 

Pine Flat Ditch: Length \ L 4 miles; capacity, 120 inches; value $500. 

Brown and White Ditch, from Volcano Canon: Size, 150 inches; 
length. 12 miles; cost $7,000. 

.Miners' Ditch, from South Shirt Tail: Length. 18 miles; size 400 
inches; cost $40,000. Value, $°400. 



180 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Eldorado Ditch, from Eldorado Canon : Capital stock, $60,000, length, 
18 miles; size, 400 inches; value, $20,000. 

North Shirt Tail Ditch, to Elizabethtown : Length, 11 miles; size, 
300 inches ; cost, $5500. 

McKee's Ditch, from South Fork of Shirt Tail Canon to Iowa Hill: 
Length, 18 miles ; size, 800 inches ; value, $5000. 

Hill's Ditch, from Indian Canon to Iowa Hill: Length, 10 miles; ca- 
pacity, 400 inches ; value, $5600. 

Dutch Flat Water Company (five ditches), from Little Bear and Canon 
Creek to Dutch Flat and Indian Hill : Value, $40,000. 

Bartlett and Thomas Ditch, from Bear River to Dutch Flat : Length, 
13 miles ; size, 500 inches ; value, $3000. 

Bear River and Auburn Water and Mining Company, from Bear River 
to lower part of Placer County: Capital stock $600,000; whole length of 
ditches, 200 miles ; value, $50,000. 

American River Ditch Company, from American River, near Auburn, 
to Sacramento County : Length, 22 miles ; capacity, 200 inches ; value, 
$75,000. 

Gold Hill and Bear River Ditch, from Bear River to Gold Hill and 
Virginia : Length, 14 miles ; value, $12,000. 

The above are the principal ditches then in use. Total in miles, 394; 
total amount of water run, 7220 inches; total value, $217,600. Most of 
the above ditches have been abandoned in the old mining sections, but 
in the lower parts of the county, ditches have been consolidated, enlarged 
and extended by large irrigating, power and light-generating companies 

Tunnels in Placer County Up to 1860 

There had been dug, up to 1860, 235 named tunnels on the Forest Hill 
and Iowa Hill Divides alone, not counting any on the Dutch Flat Divide. 
The total number of feet aggregated 186,990 and cost $2,716,200. Some of 
the larger ones are as follows : 

Dardanelles Tunnel, Forest Hill: Length, 2400 feet; cost, $150,000. 

Lola Montez, Green Valley: Length: 600 feet; cost, $24,000. 

Baltimore Tunnel, Forest Hill: Length, 1700 feet; cost, $62,000. 

Green Springs Tunnel, near Forest Hill : Length, 2000 feet ; cost, 
$70,000. 

Coloma Tunnel : Length, 1000 feet ; cost, $25,000. 

Golden Hope Tunnel, near Elizabethtown: Length, 1000 feet; cost. 
$60,000. 

On the Forest Hill Divide there were 149 tunnels ; and on the Iowa 
Hill Divide, 86. Near Wisconsin Hill, on the Iowa Hill Divide, there were 
57 tunnels, the Lebanon being 1300 feet in length and costing $45,500. Last 
Chance, on the Forest Hill Divide, had 10 tunnels, one 1000 feet in length, 
costing $20,000, and another 500 feet in length, costing $25,000. Deadwood 
had 29 tunnels, most of them short, the most costly costing $9000. Forest 
Hill has listed 24 tunnels, which were generally long and costly. Even 
Yorkville had 19 tunnels, the longest being 1800 feet in length and the most 
costly costing $30,000; and Yorkville is only a name now. 
Sawmills and Flour-Mills Before 1860 

Down to 1860 there were or had been in operation in the county at 
least twenty-three sawmills where lumber, lath and shingles were manu- 
factured. These were mostly steam mills and were mainly located on 
Forest Hill and Dutch Flat Divides. A few sample ones are as follows : 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 181 

Volcano Mill, near Michigan Bluff: Steam power, vertical saw; ca- 
pacity per annum. 1,000.000 feet; value $3000. 

Alt. Pleasant Mill, near Iowa Hill: Steam power; capacity per an- 
num. 1.200.000 feet: actual amount produced, 600,000 feet; value, $200,000. 

Xew En-gland Mill, near Illinoistown : Steam power circular saws; ca- 
pacity. 1.200.000 feet; product, 700,000 feet; value. $1000. 

The following flouring mills were erected and in operation before 1860: 

Cataract Mill, located above Auburn, on Illinoistown road: Water 
power ; value, $4000. 

Auburn Steam Mill: Steam power, 12-horse; one run of stones, grind- 
ing 17 barrels in 24 hours; value $1500. 

Turnpikes and Bridges Before 1860 

Of turnpike roads constructed before 1860, ten are enumerated, from 
1 to 8 miles in length and valued at from $900 to $16,000. Very low values 
seem to be placed on the roads compared to 1924 prices. 

The following bridges were constructed and in use prior to 1860: 

Ford's Bar Bridge, John Calloway, proprietor, across the North Fork 
of the American River, at Ford's Bar : Value, $1000. 

Bear River Bridge, across Bear River: Value, $3000. 

Murderer's Bar Bridge, a wire bridge across the Middle Fork of the 
American River, at Murderer's Bar: Value $5000, assessed half in Placer 
County and half in Eldorado County. In later years the bridge was dis- 
mantled, the cables were hauled down the river, and the bridge was re- 
erected immediately below the junction of the North and Middle Forks of 
the American River, near Auburn. The bridge is kept in good repair by 
both counties, and is in full use in 1924. 

OLD HYDRAULIC MINING METHODS 
The Undercurrent 

An "undercurrent" was a contrivance for catching very fine gold that 
might be floating in a slowly moving stream or sluice of water. Aug. 
J. Bowie, Jr., California's greatest authority on hydraulic mining, describes 
an undercurrent as a sluice fifteen to twenty feet wide and forty to fifty 
feet long, set on a very slight grade (nearly flat), provided with riffles to 
catch the gold and amalgam. After all the rough usage the rocks, gravel 
and soil were subjected to by blasting, crushing in crushing mills, washing 
with water under great pressure, etc., there was always a residuum of fine 
gold that was rushed along by the rapidly moving water after it had left the 
miner's sluice-boxes, from which the general clean-ups were made : and the 
tough clay and cement soils would still he further dissolved and yield up 
some more of their fine gold. The undercurrents were constructed as a last 
effort to catch the remaining gold before it was carried into the American 
River. 

The numerous small streams, before they reached the main creeks below 
Gold Run, were claimed and used by some, with more or less good title to 
the banks and streams, for the purpose of erecting undercurrents. These 
were often constructed long distances below the active mining operations of 
Cold Run. As stated above, they were generally fifteen to twenty feet wide 
and forty to fifty feet lung, or as the lumber would economically cut. A 
stout platform was constructed and solidly floored over, with sides and end-. 
boxed in with heavy lumber about twelve inches high. The floor was cov- 
ered with riffles or obstructions, often made of blocks sawn from small 



182 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

pine trees, roughly squared, set on end and wedged together. This plat- 
form or big box was nearly level. 

The undercurrent was constructed at a drop in the ravine. A large 
sluice box, three or four feet wide, would convey the waste water in the 
ravine, more or less charged with small rocks, gravel and sand, to the end 
of the sluice, where were fixed steel bars or railroad iron, which were laid 
parallel and close enough together to discharge the boulders and coarse 
material over the drop-off. This was called a "grizzly," and was subject 
to much wear from the rocks and gravel washing over it. Most of the 
water and finer material dropped through the bars of this grating into the 
undercurrent. The object was now to retard the flow of the water, and al- 
low the fine gold to settle and unite with the quicksilver scattered over 
the bottom of the undercurrent. 

If properly made, and if the coarse material was occasionally forked 
out and a small sprinkling of quicksilver added, these boxes need not be 
cleaned up for several weeks. They were a sort of nest-egg, or little bank 
deposits, to be cleaned up by the owner at any convenient time. The nearer 
the mines they were, the more valuable to the owner and the oftener they 
could be cleaned up. Sometimes more than one undercurrent would be lo- 
cated on a stream, the last one, of course, being the least valuable. 

Sometimes these small mortgage-lifters or night-and-day money-sav- 
ers were cleaned up by others than the owners, generally in the night-time 
and with indications of much haste. This led to means of protection — good 
scares, if nothing more serious. Small blasts, giant-cap arrangements, snap- 
pers connected with flasks of powder, and, it is said, set guns were used to 
catch the meddlesome thieves and lazy, rough characters who made a bus- 
iness of cleaning up undercurrents just in advance of the owners. 

The cleaning-up was similar to that in a string of sluice-boxes at the 
outlet of a hydraulic mine, and consisted of turning off most of the run- 
ning water, carefully removing any snappers or explosives used as scaring 
schemes, and then taking up the riffles or blocks, carefully washing them, 
cleaning out the cracks and crevices, and carefully scraping and shoveling 
together all fine sand and gravel, together with the amalgam. An ex- 
perienced miner could easily get rid of the gravel and sand and other re- 
fuse material by screening, panning and washing until all that was left 
was the amalgam, a grayish, heavy mixture, composed of quicksilver and 
fine gold — a mushy stuff, like wet sand. This material was then retorted 
in a tight crucible with heat, the quicksilver passing off through a coiled 
pipe through cold running water, and reappearing as quicksilver, a silver- 
white metallic liquid, valued in the early seventies at about one dollar per 
pound ; while the gold remained in the crucible, and when cooled was a 
solid of a dirty yellow-brown color, ready for the United States mint. 

If the clean-up was favorable, the riffles were replaced, chinks filled 
up, quicksilver spread about, snappers reset, and water turned on again. 
Fear of the snapper never permitted a very close examination of an under- 
current by the writer ; but as roughly described above, it was considered an 
easy money-getter — if cleaned up at the proper time by the true owner. 

Fluming the Rivers 

Frequent mention is made in early mining days of fluming the North 
and Middle Forks of the American River. As has already been noted, there 
were listed, about 1860, over twenty sawmills. Since there were no rail- 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 183 

roads through the county, the question might be asked, What became of 
all the good lumber that was yearly produced in the county? Ordinary 
building purposes, no doubt, absorbed much of it; but in addition to this, 
the miners on and near the rivers must have used millions of feet, much 
of which, no doubt, was lost every winter. It was frequently mentioned 
that in certain years the rivers were flamed for many miles. The working 
seasons were short, at best — perhaps five months. Early storms, with sud- 
den rushing rises in the rivers, often swept out miles of flumes, necessitating 
replacement the next summer. With such destruction of lumber, no wonder 
many sawmills were kept busy. 

How carefully the river beds were scraped and cleaned up, it is difficult 
to say at this date : but we often read of holes and pockets that the miners 
tried to clean, from which, if it was late in the fall, they were perhaps drive.! 
out by the first early rains. 

In 1879 Col. W. S. Davis and sons began working in the Middle Fork 
of the American River, drifting at Mammoth Bar. In 1882 a regular 
hydraulic elevator system was installed on the river, and they worked up 
as far as Brown's Bar. Their last work was done in 1908. While working 
on the river. Colonel Davis kept a record of the rise of the river above low- 
water mark during several years, the highest periods being usually in 
December, January and February. His measurements are very interesting 
and will be given farther on. Colonel Davis got his water from the George- 
town Ditch, on the Eldorado side of the river. Part of the time his head 
of water had an elevation above the plant in the bed of the river of 400 
feet, necessitating a very strong pipe at the lower end. The" Colonel told 
the writer that he lost one or two sets of machinery when he first began 
his work, because of being unprepared to quickly remove it after an early 
rain and sudden rise in the river. Later he had a short railroad track ready 
laid and in place for quick work. He found it more profitable to save his 
machinery every year than to run a few weeks later in the fall and perhaps 
lose part or all of it. 

The main motive power, of course, was water under great pressure, 
shot through a larger pipe than the nozzle of the discharge pipe. If this 
400-foot drop of water was through a 15-inch pipe with a 3j^-inch nozzle, 
the elevator pipe was 12 inches in diameter, 60 feet long, and projected 
upwards at an angle of 65°. The 3^-inch discharge nozzle was placed just 
inside or at the mouth of the elevator pipe, so that the gravel, fine broken 
rock, mud and sand would be caught in the strong suction of the uprushing 
water and carried to the top of the pipe, and then deflected by a heavy 
half-inch piece of steel plate, hinged to the elevator pipe, into the flume 
leading down stream. After the material from the bed of the river was 
dropped into the flume above, it was treated to a system of riffles and quick- 
silver to gather all remaining gold. The first long sluice-boxes, and riffles, 
with quicksilver in the cracks and interstices, were used witli running water 
and cleaned up before other material was sucked up to the flume above. 

The method of getting into the bed of the river required much judg- 
ment and skill. When the river was nearing its low-water mark, a large 
body of men made a race or large sluice-way on the opposite side of the river 
from where the main works were located, and then began to dam the river 
and divert the water into the temporary sluice-way. The rocks, large and 
small, from below the dam were piled onto the diversion wall till the main 
body of water was turned out of the old bed. Water, under heavy pressure, 



184 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

was used when possible to aid in this work. Rapid work was then in order 
to begin cleaning up the bed of the river. A large sump was sunk, an 
elevator pipe was erected, the nozzle was placed so that there would be a 
strong suction upward, and a sluice was erected leading to the sump where 
the pipes were located. This sluice had the proper grade to carry the rich, 
cleaned-up river bed. These sluice-boxes were cleaned up, miner fashion, as 
often as necessary. Then the miners worked a narrow "land," as a farmer 
would say, up and down this flume, dumping the large bucketsful of fine 
rock and slush into the sluice-boxes. The river bed was picked and scraped 
six inches below the surface, the loosened material being shoveled into the 
hand-buckets, the actual bed-rock being scraped and brushed with small 
Chinese bamboo brushes, like a big sink brush, into ordinary sugar scoops, 
and thence into the buckets and sluices. The work was thoroughly done, 
after all the cost and labor required to get to the original bed of the river. 

The work proceeded night and day until the whole bed of the river 
below the dam was thoroughly cleaned, or until an early rain forced the 
river over the diversion dam. Sections were cleaned up and down the 
flume ; then the sluices would perhaps be reset closer to the workmen. All 
the time, night and day, the work was crowded till the river bed was cleaned 
and washed through the sluices and flumes above. Then the valuable pipes 
were quickly dismantled, put on small cars, and pulled up the incline and 
stored for the next year's run farther up the river. 

It took good judgment to lay out the proper-sized summer's work. If 
too large a block was laid out, perhaps good virgin bed-rock was not reached 
before the fall and early rains. If too small a space was left below the 
diverting dam, it would be worked out, with perhaps a month or more to 
spare in the fall. 

Many and curious were the articles found in the bed of the old river, 
such as rusted picks and shovel blades, with wooden handles rotted away, 
the iron parts of wheel-barrows, iron cooking utensils, blades of dirk 
knives, old revolvers, pepper-boxes, old pistols with from one to six barrels — 
in fact, all sorts of abandoned personal property. 

The above description is given from what the writer saw on a visit to 
the scene of operations about forty years ago, and from occasional descrip- 
tions by Colonel Davis at about the time of the writer's first visit to his 
works. Other parts of the American River have been dredged by boats 
built especially for that purpose by the Guggenheims and others, but the 
hydraulic works of Col. W. S. Davis were substantially as they are here 
described. The writer does not claim to be a miner, never having worked 
as such, and no doubt has used untechnical language in the above descrip- 
tion. One visit to the mine, several conversations with Colonel Davis many 
years ago, and one short talk with his son, Mr. Edward Davis, constitute 
the writer's only information regarding what seemed to him an interesting 
and very thorough manner of river-mining. 

High-Water Mark on the Middle Fork 

Following is the record of high water kept by Col. W. S. Davis while 
operating the mine on the Middle Fork of the American River : 

"In 1880 it rained hard March 31 and for sixteen days in April, and 
the Middle Fork of the American River was high, from 11 to 16 feet, all 
through the month of April. June, 1880, the river was from 4 to 8 feet 
above low-water mark. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 185 

"January 14 to 29. 1881, the river was from 12 to 14 feet high; January 
'30, 23 feet high: February 4. 29 feet 9]/ 2 inches high. 

"January and February, 1882, 4 feet high ; March, not over S]/ 2 feet 
high ; April, hot over 7 feet high ; May, not over 8 feet high. 

"In 1883. at no time over 9 feet high. 

"In 18S4. March 6 to 9, 12 to 18 feet; December 21, 16 feet high; 
December 22, 19 feet high; December 23, 22J4 feet high. 

"In 1885, December 22, 12 feet 6 inches high; December 25, 14 feet 
high. 

"In 1886, January 22 and 23, 23 feet 3 inches high. 

"In 1888, not over- 6 to 7 feet so far, and it is as high now, April 17 
(7 feet), as it has been this winter." 



CHAPTER X 

OTHER CITIES AND TOWNS 

IOWA HILL 

This town was once a very flourishing mining place, casting at the 
time of its greatest population about 600 votes. It began to grow into prom- 
inence about 1853. Located on a ridge between the American River and 
Indian Canon, it has been pierced clear through by tunnels. In 1857 it had 
three large grocery stores, six dry-goods stores, three variety stores, one 
brewery, two hardware stores, and two butcher shops, besides the usual 
number of bowling alleys, billiard parlors and beer saloons. It also had a 
Masonic Lodge and Chapter, an Odd Fellows Lodge, a public school and 
theater. In 1855 a paper, the News, was published by Olmstead and Miller; 
and in 1859 the Patriot, by E. B. Boust. At one time during the boom days 
a proposition to divide Placer County was strongly advocated, Iowa Hill to 
be the county seat. During good times daily stages ran to Illinoistown 
and connected with stages for Dutch Flat, Grass Valley, Auburn and Sacra- 
mento. 

In 1857 the town was nearly all wiped out by fire, but it immediately 
was rebuilt. The last severe fire of 1922 nearly destroyed the last of this 
once flourishing mining town. The great register of 1922 gave the voting 
strength of Iowa Hill (men and women) as thirty-two. 

Independence Hill, Roach Hill, Bird's Flat, Monona Flat and Grizzly 
Flat were once small, independent mining camps or villages, more or less 
connected with Iowa Hill, but have long since passed away. They wer: 
busy mining camps in the early fifties. 

Another Poet 

Placer County's early poetess, "Eulalie," has already been mentioned. 
We have another, Anna Catharine Markham. who lately has shown her ai- 
fection and loving memory for her birthplace. At one time she taught the 
village school at Iowa Hill, when her home town was yet a place of im- 
portance. In the Placer Herald, we read: 

"The following poem, 'A Sierra Memory,' the best ever written of 
scenes and old times of Placer's mining country of the Iowa Hill and For- 



186 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 



est Hill divides, is by Anna Catharine Markham. She is a native of Iowa 
Hill, and was the loved school teacher there thirty years ago. Now she 
is the poet, secretary of the Poetry Society of America, and wife of Ameri- 
ca's great poet, Edwin Markham. In New York she sings with love her 
memories of her Iowa Hill home of long ago. 

"Mrs. Markham ended her recent lecture in San Francisco with this 
poem. A San Francisco literary man procured it after her departure for 
the East for publication in the Placer Herald." 

The poem follows : 

"A SIERRA MEMORY" 

"Sometimes, O California, far away, 
I stop and fondly say your name, 
As when one speaks a secret word of prayer 
Upon a heart-remembered holiday. 
And then, once more, like sudden altar-flame. 
Burns up the long, bright gold adown the air,. 
Behind your mountain crests that break the sky, 
My earliest memory of time — your flight 
Of purple peaks that edge the night, 
Crowned with ineffable, far, fadeless light. 

"Oh, just the magic of that word, 

And quick a hundred memories are stirred ! 

I see the wondrous months of rain deferred, 

When pines and herbs sift down their quick, keen balms, 

As Magdalen spilled the rose of odorous balms — 

The months when coppery skies are arched 

Above down-dwindling streams, and roadsides parched, 

Yet rich with dim, evasive hues and hints — 

As though rehearsing all of April's tints — 

And then the delicate first November rain 

That kindles blaze of green on hill and plain 

And calls the perished flowers to life again. 

And, lo ! the rifted rocks of the ravine 

With penciled, old-gold violets in between ; 

The manzanita, with its bells aswing 

To tell of small, tart apples she will bring ; 

The Ceanothus, with its white bloom spread 

Upon the ground like crumbs of bread ; 

The poppy, lifting up its warm, red gold 

Our miser hearts in heaven will hold ; 

Memophila, cream-cup, cyclamen, 

Azalea, lupine — Oh ! I know just when 

My lost ones come, and where the eye may catch 

Each thronging clan in its own happy patch. 

* 
"The old home-name ! And suddenly in dream, 
I see again the lizard's dartling gleam. 
Its sanctuary in the granite seam ; 
At night I hark coyote's hollow dare, 
Braggart when but the moon is there. 
I scan the hazel thicket, where the deer 
Find harvest in the brown o' the year ; 
The bounteous immemorial parks of oak, 
Whose acorns feed the bear and Indian folk; 
The quiet forests of the pine and spruce. 
Where time and grief hold endless truce. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 187 

"O California, just the dear old sound — 
Again that one word can the whole world bound! 
Thank God, for that Sierran world ; a king 
Might go his way, long envying. 
Among illimitable peaks high-hung 
With forests, dateless, deathless — ever young — 
The child-world bright with faith and hope. 
Larger, not safer, sweeter, now the scope 
Than when in my Sierran mining camp 
I knew the folk at every evening lamp ; 
Was welcome at each hearth and sill ; 
Was friend with every grave upon the hill ; 
That time when men of every land of earth 
Walked down our roads as brothers of one birth." 

ELIZABETHTOWN and WISCONSIN HILL 

Elizabethtown was settled in 1850 and flourished until Wisconsin Hill, 
in 1854, destroyed its glory, most of the population moving to the new 
town. Both camps were only about two miles from Iowa Hill. The towns 
began to decline in 1856. The numerous tunnels reached the middle of the 
ridge, but were not good producers. A road was completed to Yankee 
Jims soon after, which instead of improving the towns, only furnished 
an easy mode of leaving them. They are mere names now. 

GOLD HILL 

Gold Hill was discovered by some Georgia miners in 1851. It was 
four and one-half miles below Ophir, and proved to be very rich. Lack 
of water in the dry summer prevented success until ditch water was brought 
in. It was seriously contemplated to build a railroad to Bear River and 
take the rich dirt to the river and wash it, but the project fell through. 
The old townsite, after being leveled, makes a fine, productive peach or- 
chard. The oldest grave found in the old cemetery was marked 1852 on 
the headstone. The old cemetery is now in use as a neighborhood bury- 
ing place. 

FOREST HILL 

Forest Hill is situated upon the divide between the Middle Fork of 
the American River and Shirt Tail Canon. Its altitude is 3600 feet above 
the sea, and the distance from Auburn is twenty-two miles. 

The first settlement was made in the fall of 1850 by M. Fannan, James 
Fannan and R. S. Johnson. They were traders, and built the old Forest 
House. No special mining was carried on at that time, except "down un- 
der the hill" near the South Fork. The real value of the mines was dis- 
covered by accident. In the stormy winter of 1852-1853 a slide took place 
at the head of the Jenny Lind Canon, above the claim of Snyder, Brown 
& Company, exposing free gold which, when washed, netted $2000 to $2500 
per day. This set the value of Forest Hill as a mining camp, and bed- 
rock tunneling and surface-mining began in earnest. 

In 1858 the new Forest House was built. Tbe miners began settling 
up on top of the ridge. New traders and miners came in and the modern 
Forest Hill began. The main street is very wide, about 200 feet. Many 
brick and stone buildings-were erected. 

The town has suffered many severe fires and does not now boast of 
a "Forest House." The cessation of hydraulic mining was the main cause 
of its decline. Large quantities of good lumber were produced near the 
town in early days. 



188 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Another Historic Old Bell 

There is another historic old bell at Forest Hill, bought many years 
ago for the Roman Catholic Church, and still in use. It has an interest- 
ing history, substantially as follows: 

About 1860 a congregation of Greek Orthodox Catholics in Boston, 
Mass., desiring a bell for their church, sent to bell-makers in Russia, ask- 
ing for the proper formula for making a large bell. The formula was re- 
ceived and the bell was cast. At first the tone was not acceptable, and 
a second bell was cast ; but its tone was not liked as well as that of the first. 
In the meantime, however, the first bell had been shipped around the Horn 
to San Francisco. The priest at Forest Hill, then having a large and strong 
mission under his charge, decided to buy the bell. The church was located 
at a place called "The Shades," at the junction of the Bath or Sarahsville 
road with the Forest Hill road, the church serving two nearby large min- 
ing towns. The bell was purchased for some $3500, its weight being about 
four tons. A Mr. Davis hauled the big bell up to its location. It hung for 
a number of years at the old church, being supported by a big pine tree 
and large timbers ; but its great weight caused much trouble to the church 
members, for it fell once or twice, it is said. 

In course of years Bath declined as a mining town ; the church mem- 
bers moved away ; and the Forest Hill members of the congregation de- 
cided to build a new church at the upper edge of town and hang the bell 
in the church tower. The timbers of the new church tower were espe- 
cially large, and the whole tower was made purposely strong, so as to sup- 
port the great weight of the bell. Several years ago, while Henry Crocket 
was still alive, the bell was raised to its place in the church tower, Crocket 
being selected to manage the placing of the bell. It was a sort of town 
affair. All the strong, husky men of all faiths joined in pulling on the ropes. 

The bell has a wonderfully deep, sonorous sound. It can be heard 
under favorable conditions for twenty miles, people living in Georgetown. 
Eldorado County, often hearing it. In Placer County it can be heard in 
Auburn, Bowman, Clipper Gap, and even in Colfax. 

The wonderful bell is too heavy to hang in safety, it is said, in any 
ordinary church tower. It is rumored that the present church tower is 
becoming somewhat weak, and some fear that the bell may soon crash to 
the ground, perhaps destroying human life and itself in the fall. It is be- 
lieved that a still better and stronger tower must be built to hold the old 
bell. High ecclesiastical authority in the church may conclude to take itito 
some big city. There is a rumor that certain high church officials would 
be glad to have the old bell in Auburn. The church building in Forest 
Hill is getting old, the tower necessarily weakens with time, and the church 
members are becoming fewer in number. Rev. Richard Vereker, of Au- 
burn, now priest in charge of the Forest Hill church, would like to see the 
old relic remain in Placer County. As years roll by, and weakening tim- 
bers become less able to support the great bell, the increasing danger of 
its falling and killing human beings or destroying itself suggests the safe 
policy of moving the bell to Auburn, thus saving the bell and at the same 
time keeping it within Placer County. A strong campanile or tower that 
would safely hold the bell could be built at a reasonable cost. It is to 
be hoped that the few remaining church members will carefully ponder 
the matter and together with Rev. Vereker, consent to the brin^insr of 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 189 

the bell to Auburn. It would be a cause of great regret to all Roman 
Catholics, and to all Protestants as well, if this noted old relic should be 
taken away from Placer County. 

ILLINOISTOWN 

Illinoistown was situated in a little valley near the present town of Col- 
fox, lying between the American River and Bear River. The Mineral Bar 
stage road to Iowa Hill started there. This old stage road must have cost 
fully $75,000. as the river hills are very steep and the rock hard. A news- 
paper describes the naming of the town as follows : 

"In the month of October, 1849, the miners had a grand dinner in the 
town of four houses ; and as the residents and miners were most likely I Hi— 
noisans, they, by acclamation and a bottle of whiskey, named the place 
Illinoistown." 

YORKVILLE 

Yorkville was a small place located in 1850 by Ben Moss, Frank Em- 
mens and Henry Ewer. It was northeast of Yankee Jims one and one- 
half miles. Many tunnels were run, some entirely through the ridge. The 
town once cast ninety votes. There is nothing left of the town now. 

DEADWOOD 

Deadwood is on the southerly slope or point of a ridge between El Do- 
rado Canon and the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River; 
elevation above the sea, 4000 feet. From Michigan Bluff, by trail, it is 
only seven miles ; but it is seventy miles by the wagon road away up around 
the head of El Dorado Canon. 

The mining was done by tunnels and hillside washing, at one time 
160 to 175 men were employed at the mines. There is no voting precinct 
there now. Several years ago there was a hotel there, run by a jolly old 
Scotchman named Donald Ferguson, who used to get business letters from 
San Francisco addressed to the "Mayor of Deadwood." There was a school 
building in the village ; and the writer was here once shown the cabin of 
Mr. Colt, the originator of the Colt revolver. 

LAST CHANCE 

Last Chance, like Deadwood, is situated on a ridge right south of the 
main branch of the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River. 
It is the last mining camp up in the mountains towards Lake Tahoe ; ele- 
vation about 5000 feet. It was first settled in 1852. A trail from Michi- 
gan Bluff, via Deadwood. leads to it after crossing two deep canons. A 
wagon road reaches it, following away around above the heads of all the 
canons in that part of the county, past Robinson's Flat. The buildings 
were made in early days with lumber cut by rip-saw and man-power. The 
mines at first were quite rich. 

Several stories are related as to how the name. Last Chance. orig : nated. 
Andrew Houck told the writer the following account en his first visit to 
the camp in 1890. In 1850 a party of miners were engaged in mining 
along the ridge. Their provisions ran out, and starvation stared them in 
the face unless they abandoned the promising section. < >ne miner, with a 
good rifle and only one bullet left, asked for a chance to try for a deer. 
He went out and by great good luck secured a big buck which extended 
their stay a few days longer; and so the place took the name Last Chance. 
On our visit to the town. Andy Houck, the hotel man, gave his visitors benr 



HISTORY OF PLACER COI'XTY 191 

meat for supper. At that time the finest of timothy grass was growing in 
a nearby garden: and a fine apple orchard seemed to be flourishing. There 
were men, but no women or children, in the village. A few years later 
the writer attended a Fourth of July celebration at the town. No team 
had come around the road since October of the year before. A double 
team that had wintered there carried several children and the band (one 
fiddler) to the speakers' platform. To keep the sun off our heads, a big flag 
with thirty-one stars, made in 1852, was stretched above us. The dinner 
was one of the best, including ice cream frozen by snow brought down from 
higher altitudes, and fruits with oranges brought across the canons on mule- 
back. Over 100 happy people, young ami old, were there; and dancing was 
enjoyed for two days and nights. 

The town, in 1920 had four registered voters — three Democrats, and 
the wife of the hotel-keeper, who declined to state her politics. In 1922 
there were twenty-three voters — thirteen Republicans, nine Democrats, and 
one Soc:'a!ist. 

MICHIGAN BLUFF 

Michigan Bluff was an early-day mining camp. P>ird*s Valley was 
near by. The town, like Forest Hill, was at first located part way down 
the hill toward the river, but later moved up on the ridge. It was a very 
flourishing mining camp, and a supply station for the miners farther up 
in the mountains, both for whites and Clrnamen. 

In 1857 the town was swept by fire and nearly destroyed. It was re- 
built, but tunnels and sliding earth forced it to be moved to the top of 
the ridge. In its best days the town had two clothing stores, five provision 
stores, three hotels, two restaurants, fourteen saloons, two bakeries, four 
barber-shops, and two livery stables. There were then two lawyers, three 
doctors, five shoemakers, two tailors, six blacksmiths, two tinsmiths, and 
also druggists, and representatives of other lines of business. 

Michigan Bluff was a sort of sociable town. Visitors and politicians 
always spoke in praise of the pleasant times they had spent in Michigan 
Bluff and Dutch Flat, both typical mountain towns. A dwelling-house is 
pointed out as the home of Leland Stanford, one-time clothing merchant 
of the town and later Governor of the State and one of the "Big Four" who 
built the Central Pacific Railroad. 

Michigan Bluff, in 1922, had thirty-two registered voters. 

DAMASCUS 

Another old town on the Iowa Hill Divide is Damascus. It faces the 
main or North Fork of the American River. The remaining miners get 
their mail from Towle postoffice, over on the railroad, or Dutch Flat ridge 

The town was once a very flourishing place, when certain tunnels were 
driven into the divide, which were ultimately cut off by a cross-channel 
imm above. The remnants of a fine fruit orchard are seen there, and the 
purest and coldest "I spring water still runs from the pipes. A small bag 
full of ancient copper pennies or one-cent pieces, picked up from the rocks 
found under an old miner's cabin, still do duty in an old Chapter ol Royal 
Arch Masons. 

The 1920 great register shows seven votes— five Republicans, two Dem- 
ocrats, and the only woman declares herself "Republican, housewife." The 
last register, that of 1922, -hows eight votes— six Republicans, one Demo- 
crat, and the mine watchman, who declines t" state. Damascus is now 
defunct as a voting place. A recent forest tire has entirely destroyed the town. 



192 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

SUNNY SOUTH 

Located at what might be called the southern end of the Damascus 
channel, was the village of Sunny South. As described in the article on 
Damascus, the well-paying channel seems to have been cut off by a dif- 
ferent channel running across the Damascus channel. The owners, with 
simple implements, then surveyed over the ridge, and on the opposite side 
of the ridge located what they considered to be the south end of the old 
Damascus channel: and on account of the warmth and fine climate they 
named the place Sunny South. The mine was called the Hidden Treasure. 
The village site is about five miles from Michigan Bluff and seven miles 
southerly from Damascus. Electric engines were used for tunnel work, 
and the town was electrically lighted, water furnishing the power. It was 
a strictly up-to-date mine, and was very rich until it was cut off by the 
cross channel. 

A sort of mining romance attaches to the Damascus channel and the 
Hidden Treasure channel, and the two towns. It was really an up-to-date 
mine, with the most modern equipment of its kind in California; but pleas- 
ant memories are all that remain of the village of Sunny South at the 
present time. 

BATH 

The first settler in this place, in 1850, was John Bradford, a merchant 
doing business at Stony Bar, down the river. He built a cabin to live in 
and store his goods, and fenced in a big field as a stock ranch. In the fall 
of 1850 some miners bought out Bradford, intending to hunt in the win- 
ter and mine in the gulches. Soon a town grew up; and to compliment 
the wife of a man by the name of Blaze, the village was called Sarahsville, 
after her given name. In 1858, however, the village was large enough for 
a post office ; and when one was asked for and granted the town got the 
name of Bath. It was for many years a rich mining camp ; but its glory 
has departed, and it is now remembered only as the town from which many 
fine citizens came who have settled in other parts of Placer County. 

PINE GROVE 

Pine Grove, sometimes called Smithville, was located on Secret Ra- 
vine in 1850. It was below old Newcastle, now defunct. Farther up the 
ravine was Stewart's Flat, which also has passed out of existence, with the 
exception of a small graveyard. 

Pine Grove was once the center of a population of 1500 people. Two 
of the prominent men of the old town were L. G. Smith and William D. Per- 
kins, known as Dana Perkins. "Dana" kept the local hotel, with one of 
the finest (lancing halls in the State. He also had a fine race-track for 
those who thought they had speedy horses. 

Pino, later called Loomis, on the railroad, may be said to have fallen 
heir to the good fruit lands around Pine Grove. 

VIRGINIA 

Virginia may be called the successor to Gold Hill. It was first mined 
in 1852, and was called very rich. Capt. John Bristow built a railroad track 
to the Auburn Ravine for the purpose of washing out the gold dust. 

This railroad did not equal in importance the later great Central Pacific 
overland road, but it certainly was first in point of time. 

After the ('.(,1(1 Hill and Bear River Ditch came into the "diggins, ' 
Virginia settled down as a steady producer of gold, the net proceeds, it is 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 193 

said, going into the tunnels and larger works of Iowa II ill, Dutch Flat. 
Todd's Valley and Forest Hill. 

Virginia No. 2. or Chinatown, farther down the ravine, was also a 
good camp. There are three or four partly used buildings yet at Virginia 
No. 2. while a sadly dilapidated old granite building, nearly level with the 
ground, is all that remains of Virginia. 

TODD'S VALLEY 

This place was started by Dr. Todd for a store and hotel in 1849. He 
had fenced in a lot of land for a pasture field. The place was intended to 
catch the miners at Stony Bar, Horseshoe Bar and Resters Bar as they 
traveled from the river up to the main divide. The doctor seems to have 
been thrifty. He pastured horses in his large corral, his charge being $5 
per week cash, the owners to run all risks and hunt them up themselves 
when they desired to use them. 

The stand, as a ranch and trading post, was no doubt worth $10,000 
or $15,000 in 1850, and was, like Bath and Forest Hill at that time, chiefly 
valuable as a trading or stock center. As a rich mining section, it did 
not start to grow until 1852. Thenceforward it grew rapidly to 1859, when 
it went down in a great fire, two large brick buildings remaining. The 
town was rebuilt after the big fire, and bore a neat, prosperous look. There 
was a Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodge, and also two temperance orders. 
Some of the richest mines on the Forest Hill Divide w^ere located there, both 
tunnel and hydraulic. 

The great register of 1922 shows a voting population (men and women) 
of twenty-five. 

WESTVILLE 

The village of Vestville is a voting precinct of twelve votes. West's 
Hotel and large barn constitute the buildings found in the place. It is 
on the county road running up into the high mountains, and is noted es- 
pecially for its good trout-fishing. 

DONNER 
The hotel and village of Donner, called Summit Voting Precinct, arc 
located at the summit of the railroad grade, in the mountains, the elevation 
being 7017 feet. Extra helper engines stop here; and water trains start 
from Summit either way to put out fires in the railroad snow-sheds. The 
county line dividing Placer and Nevada Counties runs between the hotel 
on the south side of the line and the few houses on the Nevada side of the 
line. By reason of good-natured comity, it is not very certain where the 
line does run; but all the voting is done at the hotel, in Summit Precinct 

CISCO 

Cisco, fourteen miles down the railroad from Summit Station, is quite 
a summer resort. The hotel and rooming-houses are near the Cisco depot. 
It : s headquarters also for a large body of men engaged in enlarging cer 
tain reservoirs for the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. One-half mile 
below the hotel, on the Yuba River, is located the camping ground, more 
or less tributary to Cisco. 

In 1922 Cisco had a voting population of fifty-four. Guides ami horses 
may be secured here for trips farther into the mountains. During the build 

7 



194 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

ing of the Central Pacific Railroad over the mountains, in 1866, this was 
the location of the construction office, and the construction forces wintered 
here, mak : ng it a very lively camp. 

BLUE CANON 

Blue Canon at present is the end of the double tracking of the railroad, 
there being from Cisco over the mountains to Truckee but a single track, 
most of the way covered by the gloomy snow-sheds. It is quite a neat 
village, and has a summer school. 

Blue Canon is specially noted for having very cold water piped to the 
station for drinking purposes ; and for the old, old gag played on the East- 
ern passenger when he lifts a curtain and sees behind the bar the "Great 
Mountain Bat." It is there, red and well-burned, 2 by 4 by 8 inches in size. 

TOWLE 

Towle is located on the overland railroad one mile above Alta, and 
was for many years the home of Allen and George Towle, the lumbermen 
of the Dutch Flat Divide. From Towle the narrow-gauge railroad started 
up to the sawmills to haul down the prepared lumber. The proprietors 
occupied fine residences; and there were stores, boarding houses, a town 
hall, and other village improvements, as also a church and summer school. 
Later, at one time, there was a large pulp-mill. 

After the deaths of the proprietors, and the selling of the timber lands 
(about 19,000 acres), the village declined. 

ALTA 

Alta was once a prominent railroad station, with a large depot and 
hotel. In the early seventies much railroad wood was cut at this place and 
corded up for future use. 

There is a large artificial lake or reservoir at this place, with many 
tourists' cottages around it. A fine boys' school was conducted there at 
one time by a Mr. Price. Later the school was moved to Auburn, and later 
still the property was turned into a tubercular sanatorium. Many pleasant 
memories center around Alta and its fine climate. 

DUTCH FLAT 

The town of Dutch Flat lies below the railroad about half-way to Bear 
River. The station, a hotel, and a big general store, with near-by cottages, 
are in view of the overland passenger trains. The main county road 
(Lincoln Highway) passes at a still higher grade. The big store lately 
burned down. 

Dutch Flat was settled in 1851 by Joseph Doranbach ; but it did not 
grow into importance until 1854. when the Placer County Canal was started 
to carry water from Bear River. 

In 1859 the town ranked well to the front, in population and buildings, 
with other larger towns of the county. In the Presidential election of 1860 
it cast over 500 votes. In the same year its first paper, the Dutch Flat 
Enquirer, was brought out. In later years the Forum and other papers 
occupied the field. About this time Dutch Flat contained nearly one-tenth 
nl the whole population of the county. It boasted of having seven provi- 
sion and grocery stores, seventeen saloons, eight clothing and dry-goods 
stores, two breweries, three blacksmith shops, two hardware stores, two 
tin shops, two hotels, and one drug-store, besides other usual shops', and 
also three schools and one church. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 195 

The mining here developed into hydraulic mining of the most impor- 
tant kind. Like Gold Run, the place had an abundance of ditch water. 
When the writer first visited the place in 1872-1873, there were three 
hotels, three churches, two banks, and an opera house. The Towle Broth- 
ers' lumber offices and the mines seemed to be at their best. About the 
time the railroad reached there, in 1866, there were many stages and freight 
teams leaving daily over the mountains. 

Fourth-of-July Celebrations, and Home-Comings 

Dutch Flat always had a fine class of citizens. It was a sort of New 
England village with a lot of German saloon-keepers, very orderly and law- 
abiding. There seemed to be a sort of modern-Oakland or ancient-Athens 
atmosphere about the town. "Come to our dances and Fourth-of-July 
celebrations, and we will treat you royally ; but you must excuse us, we 
are not active in going away from home" — such seemed to be the universal 
feeling of the citizens. Even now, in its later, declining years, the same 
sort of atmosphere prevails. Its large lodge banquet is old-fashioned 
and baronial in style. Four or five roast turkeys, uncarved, are brought 
in to the waiting banquet tables ; and pies, mince and custard, are there 
in abundance. 

Dutch Flat had an old-fashioned Fourth-of-July celebration in 1923. 
The main street had, as usual, its six-inch coating of sawdust, well 
sprinkled. The platform, nicely decorated with bunting, was located on a 
near-by vacant lot. They had singing by the school children ; and the 
oration was by Judge Percy King, of Napa, an old-time resident of Dutch 
Flat. Several patriotic songs were beautifully rendered by a professionally 
trained artist, Madame Jellico, who sang charming songs to our soldier 
boys in France during the World's War, the lady's grandparents or other 
relatives be : ng old-time residents of the town. Everything was of the 
best — just like Dutch Flat. 

The people of the county hold their annual reunion on some desig- 
nated day in September, in Mosswood Park, Oakland. The Dutch Flat 
reunion is generally held in the same park, one week earlier ; thus, the true- 
blue Dutch Flater has two reunions each year. Many old-timers, or their 
children, come back to spend the summer months. Cherished memories 
and fine climate are pleasantly associated with Dutch Flat. 

EMIGRANT GAP 

The words Emigrant Gap describe the place exactly. Through a low 
gap the early emigrants passed down into Bear Valley, and thence down to 
the plains. It is forty-seven miles east of Auburn and has an elevation of 
?22) feet. It was once a lumbering place of some importance. 

The Pacific Gas <!v Electric "Lookout," fin the Lincoln Highway, gives 
a fine view of Bear Valley. The railroad from Blue Canon follows the 
south side of the ridge, but on passing through the gap swings to the 
north side. 

The registered voters of the town number twenty-six. 

COLFAX 
Colfax got its name from I 'resident Lincoln's running mate. Schuyler 
Colfax. The Central Pacific Railroad reached the place in September, 1865. 
Illinoistown, one-half mile south, was quickly absorbed. The railroad com- 
pany surveyed the site, and then sold the site to Messrs. Kohn and Kind. 
who at a big lot sale, on July 29, 1865, started the town. 



196 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

When the Harriman cut-oft" was finished, i'n 1912, Colfax advanced to 
its present importance as a railroad junction. Many side-tracks were put 
in; a large roundhouse was built ; and many overland trains are now made 
up at this point. 

Colfax is an incorporated city of two precincts, and, with the Illinois- 
town precinct, near by and in effect a part of Colfax, has a voting popula- 
tion of 497. The elevation of the place is 2421 feet above the sea ; and being 
on a ridge between the American and Bear Rivers, the city has a warm, 
salubrious climate. This has induced the building of several sanatoriums 
for the cure of mild cases of tuberculosis. The screened-porch and screened- 
house system, started in the mountains of Colorado several years ago, has 
been adopted and improved on by expert doctors, until the usual fear of 
lung trouble has been greatly reduced on this balmy mountain ridge. What 
is called the "Eleven Counties Sanatorium," is located a few miles down the 
railroad, at nearly the same elevation, at Weimar, which large institution has 
given eminent satisfaction. 

Colfax is a thrifty, bustling little city, with many pretty homes and 
good business houses, a bank, good schools, two churches, and a snappy 
newspaper, the Colfax Record. It is at present at the head of the State 
highway system, which soon will be extended over the mountains. 

The writer's first introduction to the big freight wagons and trailers 
of early days took place at Colfax. The fine horses and jingling bells, as 
the loaded wagons and trailers started for Grass Valley and Nevada City, 
are well remembered. This was in 1872; but in 1876 the narrow-gauge 
railroad ended the freight-teaming business across Bear River. 

"Old Joe" 

The Colfax Record, some months ago, printed an article under the 
above title, based on a Sacramento Bee news item of July 4, 1901. We 
quote from the article, as follows : 

"Many a tourist has pondered and speculated upon the significance 
of a grave at the side of the road near Forest Hill, Placer County, above 
which stands a rough tombstone on which is painted in white : 'Old Joe, 
Died July 3, 1901/ The general conclusion reached is that the grave must 
be that of an Indian or an early settler. 

"But the old-timers of the vicinity recall the day the grave was dug 
and the inscription put on the stone. And they tell the many curious that 
Old Joe was not a person, but the stage-horse who sacrificed his life in an 
attempt to carry through to safety passengers and express entrusted to him. 

"Old Joe was fatally wounded by the shot from the holdup man's gun 
when the stage-driver refused to halt. He died with his harness on. His 
body was dragged to the side of the road he had traveled day after day, 
and was buried. A small American flag was stuck in the ground at the 
head of the grave. A flag waves over him now, and has since the day he 
died. The mountain people of the vicinity have not forgotten Old Joe, 
and on the Fourth of July each year a new flag is placed over the grave. 

"Today, if the old stage-horse were able, he would see speedy, high- 
powered auto-stages whizzing along the road he trod with his mates in 
other years. And he would realize, perhaps, that the advance of civilization 
has removed the dangers that he, as a pioneer of twentv-two years ago, 
had to face. But Old Joe sleeps on. . 

"The stage robbery was the last one on the line. A young man who 
was a resident of the Forest Hill section was arrested in Suisun, charged 
with the crime, some time afterward. Years later the Wells-Fargo box 
which was carried away was found on a bar in the American River canyon. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 197 

Some of the papers which were in it when the stage was held up were still 
there. The box was found by an Indian boy. 

"A large black oak, behind which the holdup man stood awaiting the 
approach of the stage, still stands as a sentinel over Old Joe's grave. When 
the bandit shot Old Joe, Driver Crockett, in spite of the shotgun leveled at 
him by the bandit, did not mince words in expressing his rage. 'You've 
killed the best horse in this count}-, and you'll pay for it, by God,' he 
shouted. 

"Death came close to Crockett that day, but it remained for a railroad 
train at the Auburn station to end his long career. He was struck by a 
fast passenger engine several years afterward, was badly mangled, and 
died within a few hours." 

Henry Crockett, an old-time resident of Forest Hill, was a noted stage- 
driver. For many years he hauled freight from Auburn to Forest Hill and 
other towns on the divide. It seemed to make no difference to him whether 
his freight team consisted of two horses or of six. Short curves were safely 
passed, and grades and steep pitches were pulled over with equal ease and 
safety. He gave a sort of semi-official notice to the first auto-drivers to 
keep off the Forest Hill grades or travel at safe hours. He was a brave and 
very popular man. 

CLIPPER GAP 

Clipper Gap is located on the railroad, seven miles above Auburn, with 
an elevation of 1759 feet. The "cut-off" and main line come together here 
again. It was once a large wood station and had a box factory. The 
station and country about it register ninety-four votes. Its most palmy 
days were those when it was the shipping-point for the Hotaling iron-ore 
industry. 

HOTALING 

High hopes of a second Pittsburgh once filled the hopeful breasts of 
Placer citizens. Three or four miles west of Clipper Gap iron ore was 
discovered many years ago. Kind nature also had placed marble and other 
materials near by. ready to be used as a flux for the making of pig-iron. 

In 1880, Messrs. Egbert Judson. Anson P. Hotaling, Irving M. Scott 
and P. Fitzhugh purchased iron-ore land here. The town was called Hotal- 
ing. Thousands of cords of wood were cut in Placer and Nevada Counties. 
Many kilns and ovens were constructed, and the wood burned into char- 
coal. The corporation was called the California Iron Company. All the 
necessary furnaces and works were erected for making pig-iron, and the 
company soon made thousands of tons as good as No. 1 Swedish iron. The 
Southern Pacific Railroad bought all that was made. A town was built up. 
Stores and a post office were in service: a school district was organized; 
and a school was opened. The company owned 7620 acres of wood-land 
near the works. From April to September, 1881, 4414 tons of pig-iron were 
made. The employees were fifty furnace hands, forty miners, seventy-five 
charcoal-burners and teamsters, and others twelve — a total of 177. Sixty- 
eight votes were polled by the employees. 

But the end came suddenly. The works were closed in the fall of 1881, 
with the understanding that they were to be reopened in an improved man- 
ner the following spring. They were never reopened. Whether it was 
a quarrel among directors or stockholders, a failure of ore. or what the 
cause. Placerites still are wondering. The works were dismantled and the 
property sold. The ore was of the best red hematite while the mine was 
in operation. 



198 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

BOWMAN 

The territory around Bowman is now a fruit section, noted as a rasp- 
berry and strawberry district, producing the best of their kind, and rilling 
orders for the lower fruit houses at Newcastle, Penryn, etc., when the 
earlier-ripening crops are gone. The "cut-off" and main railroad tracks 
meet here at the same grade. 

Bowman once had a proposed street railroad graded to the place, but 
no street cars ever came. It has a store and good school, and some high 
ridge berry farms. 

PENRYN 

Penryn was named by Griffith Griffith. The place in 1872 was mainly 
noted for its stone quarries, conducted by Mr. Griffith. About that time 
there were about 200 stone-cutters and quarrymen at work. The town is 
located on the railroad, twenty-eight miles from Sacramento, the first heavy 
grade and long curve, called "Horseshoe Bend," on the railroad being just 
below the town. The elevation is 610 feet. 

Mr. Griffith was a noted man, a native of Wales. He started the Pen- 
ryn quarries in 1864, and gradually improved his works with polishing mills 
and other improvements, until his quarries and his works easily outranked 
any others in the State. These quarries furnished the granite for the base 
of the State Capitol and the coping around the Capitol lot, in Sacramento, 
the county court-house in Stockton, the Mare Island Dry-Dock for the ■ 
United States government, and part of the dressed granite for the United 
States Mint and other noted buildings in San Francisco. During a slack 
time of work in 1878, rather than discharge his men, he built for himself 
the handsome granite store building in Penryn, decorated by large, polished 
black knob-urns. 

The writer taught his first school in Placer County at Penryn, but in 
what was then called Stewart's Flat district. The old building was located 
below the present home of Mrs. Ellen Ann Owen. Soon after, the district 
was renamed Penryn and a new schoolhouse was built in town. 

The fruit business was not considered worth talking about in those 
days. A few sacks of beans, a few boxes of blackberries or apples to 
Truckee or Reno by express were about the limit of agriculture. Cutting 
fine live-oak trees into stove-wood and shipping it to Sacramento markets 
by rail at $4 per cord was considered good business for those who owned 
land. The school-teacher who succeeded the writer, Frank Montgomery 
by name, and a Grand Army man, preempted during his term what was 
called the "Gilmore Eighty," just south of town, and the school trustees 
discharged him from the school at the end of the term. Taking up a rolling 
eighty-acre tract of Penryn fruit land was considered an evidence of lack 
of good sense in those days. In 1876, a man was offered by the railroad a 
fine forty-acre tract of land at $5 an acre; but he did not want "any more 
poor land." The writer has drawn deeds three times for the same forty 
acres at increased considerations of $50, $75 and $125 per acre. 

It is said that the Crocker 640 acres, northwest of Penryn, at one time 
paid more tax than any other section of land in the county. There were 
twenty-six houses and small fruit orchards on the land. 

Growth of the Fruit Industry 

The granite business has languished at Penryn for many years, as 
concrete and tile seem now to be the favorite building materials; but the 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 199 

fruit business has gone forward by leaps and bounds. The Penryn Fruit 
Company, Pioneer Fruit Company, Cooperative Fruit Company, Porter 
Bros. Company, Patten & Lett, Penryn Fruit Growers' Association, and 
other houses now send hundreds of cars of choice fruit to Eastern markets 
each season. About 1900 J. Parker Whitney planted 120 acres of navel 
oranges. Among the first to plant orchards and grow fruit on a commercial 
scale were Robert Williamson, Ira F. White, P. W. Butler, Andrew Cald- 
well, N. B. Lardner, John Kaiser, Benjamin Browning, and W. R. Strong & 
Company, all of whom planted tracts of from twenty to eighty acres about 
the year 1880. When these orchards came into bearing, the first fruit- 
shipping house at Penryn was organized under the name Penryn Fruit Com- 
pany, which was incorporated on February 11, 1886, with the following 
officers and directors: P. W. Butler, president; N. B. Lardner, vice-presi- 
dent ; B. Browning, secretary ; and Edward Newell, manager. Besides the 
above, the board of directors included A. P. Hall, J. M. O'Connor, and 
Jacob Free. The business of this shipping house, as well as those which 
followed, was the shipping of fruit in the fresh state to Eastern markets ; 
and from that day on the fruit crops of this district — mainly peaches, 
plums, pears, and cherries — have practically been sold in those markets. 
The many mining ditches of early days are put to use as irrigating ditches. 
There are about 2000 acres bearing deciduous fruits in the Penryn district 
at this date. 

About the year 1890 lecturers were called in and for a time much 
interest was manifested. Again some of the best tree-planting methods 
were experimented on. P. W. Butler tried the experiment of spreading 
the branches of young peach trees by lashing common barrel hoops be- 
tween the limbs to allow air and sunshine to penetrate freely into the 
middle of the tree. Many orange trees were planted about this time, and 
the roadsides were beautified by planting palm trees. Penryn came rap- 
idly to the front in many ways. 

Successful fruit production has developed into a highly scientific call- 
ing these later days. The agricultural college professor is to the front, 
advising as to soils and proper culture. The horticultural commissioner 
and farm adviser are regular county officers now, aiding the fruit man with 
advice" as to how to graft, bud, spray, fight pests, cross, pollenize, etc. One 
plowing in the spring, once over with the cultivator, smashing all the clods 
possible, and then soaking the ground with too much irrigating water, will 
not produce the best results ; and the fruit-raiser of 1924 has been taught 
the true reason. Penryn section was a little slow in getting started ; but 
when once rightly started, it moved rapidly. 

The Citrus Colony at Penryn 

The Citrus Colony at Penryn was organized, promoted, and financed by 
J. Parker Whitney, in 1890. Associated with him in laying out the colom 
and locating colonists, were his brother, James G. Whitney, P. W. Butler, 
and others. The colony was located west of Penryn and north of Loomis, 
and comprised approximately 2000 acres in Sections 26, 27, 28, 2<>. 32, 33 
and 34, Township 12 north, and Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Township 11 north, 
owned principally by the promoters; but others within those boundaries 
either listed their property for sale or bonded to the enterprise. The project 
was an English colony, and the London agents were Messrs. Scott and 
Jackson, while the local representative of that firm was Capt, J. Booth 



200 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Clarkson. Colonists were sent from England and were sold property of 
their selection on arrival. By 1892 there were approximately thirty or 
forty English resident owners. They purchased improved orchards and a 
limited amount of raw land, which they planted. 

The center of social activities of the colony was the Citrus Colony 
Club, located on property owned by J. Parker Whitney at the western end 
of Lincoln Avenue. The club-house was a granite building containing ban- 
quet hall, billiard rooms, and accommodations for many guests. There 
were tennis courts and cricket and football fields. Many festivities occurred 
there, the sports of England having favor. Cross-country paper chases were 
popular, these gatherings faithfully representing the fox hunts of Old England. 

After the colony became established, an Agricultural College was built 
on a forty-acre tract on Lincoln Avenue, one mile west of Penryn, by Frank 
Kerslake, an Englishman. He erected, in 1891, a large four-story building 
on a commanding location, a head master's house, stables, etc., and planted 
some acreage to orchard and nursery. The late Albert H. Brydges had the 
supervision of the institution, as head instructor of the students. Kerslake 
made frequent trips to England, sending out young men to take agricultural 
courses at the college. There were approximately forty or fifty students in 
1892 and 1893. Some bought land and planted fruit later. 

The financial depression throughout the country between the years 1893 
and 1897 affected the fruit industry in Placer County ; and with prices low 
and the future uncertain, the colony project waned, as colonists sought other 
lines of investment. The Agricultural College encountered serious financial 
difficulties, which were aggravated by lack of experience in the fruit business. 
These handicaps resulted in financial disaster for the college, which was 
closed and in 1900 sold. The buildings were razed by the purchaser, and 
the property was turned into orchard. ■ 

In 1898 there were very few of the original colonists remaining. These, 
however, were successful as conditions returned to normal, and they became 
permanent residents. They include Capt.Thomas F. Hunter, Major Turner, 
James Thompson, J. H. Tamisier, Alfred Benham, A. Brown-Lyall, M. 
Campbell-Walker, Owen Brothers, and others. 

Some of the original colonists who purchased properties but later moved 
to other parts of the State, or returned to England, were Capt. J. Booth 
Clarkson, Mitchell Innes, Bruce Gardyne, Colonel Brice-Thomas, Mansell 
Carne, Thomas Cowan (a noted botanist and publisher of a bee journal in 
London), F. A. Palmer, C. F. Tottenham, Frank Kerslake, Colonel Marsh- 
Browne, Garnett Brothers, Leonard Pryor, G. H. M. Lannowe, C. M. Price, 
and James Long. Others were Arthur Johns, who married Miss Lillian 
Reed of Auburn ; J. H. Toler, whose wife was Florence Reed ; Wallace Dewe, 
who married Miss McCann, also of Auburn; Alex Cowan, whose wife was 
Miss Mary Turner ; Ronald Marsh-Browne, who married Miss Grace Swesev 
of Penryn ; and M. Campbell-Walker, whose wife was Miss Edith Owen. ' 

During the years when the colony was flourishing, there were many 
sporting events put on at the Citrus Colony Club. Whitney Brothers, then 
State tennis champions, and Bradshaw, McGee and others, frequently com- 
peted in tennis tournaments. Football teams from Vallejo and other points 
played the Rugby game against the colonists on various occasions; and 
cricket matches among the English residents were frequent. 

Many of the colonists who came from England brought with them 
various articles of furniture, including pianos, and also supplies of dress 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 201 

goods, fire-arms, etc., under the impression that such articles could not be 
obtained in the far-off land of California. 

NEWCASTLE 

The fruit industry of Newcastle, the largest in Placer County, will be 
dealt with by an expert in that line of business. The town will be briefly 
mentioned here with man)- other towns of the county. 

Old Newcastle, as it is now called, was a lively mining town down on 
Secret Ravine, and was worked out and died like Stewart's Flat and other 
ravine towns. One of the roads towards Auburn passed northerly under 
the trestle, before it was filled in by the railroad company. The valley 
road came up through a gap in the hills, the street in later days being 
called "Happy Valley." The long, curving trestle, like that at Secret town, 
below Gold Run, was filled in about 1876, as required by the government, 
because the timbers became unsafe. The schoolhouse in 1872 was located 
on the present site, and about equaled the one at Penryn for openness to 
the weather. The third school building is now in use, a substantial cement 
structure. 

The first line of railroad ran north of the high hill just west of town 
on the Dutch Ravine side of the ridge. It is said Charles Crocker won 
S10.000 on a bet he would run the first train into Newcastle on Christmas 
Day, 1864. The grading was heavy, and the work slow; so he ran a light, 
flimsy track out around the big boulders and heavy blasting, and thus got 
his train into town, and won his bet, though the properly surveyed grade 
and track did not reach the town for many days. 

Mr. John Holder kept the hotel, about where the present post office 
stands. A fine hotel farther south was conducted for many years, until 
destroyed in one of Newcastle's great fires. Strange to say, no commo- 
dious hotel has taken the place of the one destroyed. 

Newcastle is located on the crown of a hill, and the business houses 
and dwellings crowd each other for available space on the west side of 
the main street. The space on the east side, near the side-tracks, is given 
up entirely to the large fruit houses. Pretty dwelling-houses are scattered 
over all the adjoining hilltops. 

The new "cut-off" railroad comes into Newcastle and meets the old 
grade at the passenger depot for the first time since leaving Rocklin. The 
tracks then separate, and do not meet again on the same grade until Clipper 
Gap is reached. 

OPHIR 

Ophir is located on Auburn Ravine, about three miles below Auburn. 
It was first settled in 1850. In 1852 it was the largest town in Placer 
County, polling 500 votes. Ophir ranked with Yankee Jims and Auburn 
in bS52-1853 for size and business. It had a bank, express office, and hotels. 
Daily stages ran from Sacramento, via Ophir and Auburn, to Yankee Jims. 
It had its scourge of fires, but quickly built up again. Most of the quartz- 
mining in the county has been carried on near Ophir. At one time, about 
1875 to 1885. many men were employed and many stamps were dropping 
night and day. 

While the village now is small, it is in the midst of a good fruit section. 
The Ophir precinct has a registration of 211. At the present time tin- 
nearest post office is at Newcastle, but the place is well served by the rural 
free deliverv routes. 




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HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 203 

YANKEE JIMS 

Yankee Jims contains a few houses yet. Some good cherry and apple 
trees remain, and piles of cobblestones line the road into town. The few 
villagers and surrounding mines give a total registration of twenty votes. 

Gold was first discovered at this place by a man named Robinson, who 
was later convicted of horse-stealing in 1852, in one of the southern coun- 
ties — and he bothered Yankee Jims no more. The nickname, "Yankee 
Tim's," still clung to the town, though the sign of the possessive is now 
dropped in the official spelling. It was once one of our largest mining 
camps, and was noted throughout the State. 

Among the first settlers of the place were three brothers, B. F., G. W. 
and N. F. Gilbert, and Thomas Farthing, who drove an ox team from 
Missouri, loaded with mining tools, provisions and clothing, into the camp 
in the fall of 1850. The first store was started by Thomas Adams, James 
Cartwright and Ben Thomas, from Tennessee. The town, as the gamblers 
sav, soon became a brisk place. The usual big fire in 1852 nearly destroyed 
the whole town. It was rebuilt, however, and was among the largest towns 
in the county. 

In 1851 some Georgians discovered the richest "diggins" of Yankee 
Jims. One of the first mining ditches in the State, if not the first, was dug 
by H. Starr and Eugene Phelps into the Yankee Jims mines in 1851. 
Hydraulic washing was introduced into the camp in June, 1853, by Col. 
William McClure, who heard of this method in Nevada County. 

The first newspaper published in town was the Mountain Courier, 
issued in 1856-1857 by Messrs. Parker and Graves; it ran three months and 
then died. In July, 1857, E. B. Boust started the Placer Courier. The 
Democratic county convention of the county was held there in 1857. 

The writer has the best of testimony regarding the glorious days of 
Yankee Jims in the letters and personal statements of an old resident who 
arrived in the town on June 1, 1857, and whose father, Colonel McClure, 
and two brothers had preceded her across the plains in 1850. In 1851 he 
sent to New Jersey for nursery stock for a home orchard of ten acres. The 
trees were planted and the home was established at "Welcome Cottage," 
about a mile from town. Every variety of New Jersey fruit and berries 
was included. There was an abundance of irrigating water, and the or- 
chard flourished. The mother and the family of eight children sailed from 
New York on May 5, 1857, and reached Yankee Jims on June 1, as above 
stated, crossing the Isthmus of Panama. That year there was a fine fruit 
crop. Many peaches weighed one pound and sold for fifty cents a pound, 
and cherries were seventy-five cents a pound. Berries and apples were 
cheaper. Pears often sold for fifty cents each. There is a well-remembered 
family tradition that some of the first peaches sold for one dollar each. 

Colonel McClure was the first settler to try bee culture on the ridge, 
paying $100 for a hive of bees at Sacramento. After two or three years the 
yellow-jackets exterminated them. In the meantime, however, several 
swarms flew away; and wild bees were found in the later sixties in many 
trees on the Divide. 

Yankee Jims was of such importance that Governor Weller anil Lieu- 
tenant-Governor Walkup opened their campaign there in June, 1857. I luck 
& Mannering were successful merchants, and afterwards followed the build- 
ing of the Central Pacific Railroad to Reno, where both died, rich men. 
-Mannering's widow still lives in Reno (1'.'24). A. P. K. Safford was a sue- 



204 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

cessful miner, and went to the Assembly of California for two terms. He 
afterwards was appointed Governor of the Territory of Arizona. The Gil- 
bert boys and Sam Bowman were good citizens, but never made lucky 
strikes. They were too generous to be rich men. "Lend a hand" was their 
motto. Hon. Robert O. Cravens, Wells-Fargo agent, and his charming 
wife kept open house. Dr. Fagen and Dr. Wilkenson were fine surgeons 
as well as doctors. Col. Sam Todd was "mine host" of one hotel, and after- 
wards kept a fine hotel in San Francisco. 

The "free-lance life" of the time, with horseback rides to different 
mines, many parties to go to, and political meetings or other assemblages 
of the different towns, seems worthy of brief description. To use my cor- 
respondent's words: 

"Father died in 1871. Since then I have not been on the Divide, but I 
feel myself a Placerite, and would like to give a live picture of the merry- 
go-lucky, merry days. Old age is to blame for any failure. 

"Jim Herrick kept the hotel, and then went back East and was presi- 
dent of a railroad in Indiana. Many of the lawyers of Auburn, such as 
Judge Hale, C. J. Hillyer, and others, started in Yankee Jims. The Meth- 
odist Church was built in 1856, and the first schoolhouse in 1858 — possibly 
the fall of 1857. Theaters were held in the hotel dining-room. Saloons 
flourished. Livery stables and good riding horses were within reach. A 
good town hall was over a store. 

"Bayard Taylor, Starr King and other fine speakers spoke there. A 
flourishing dancing school was there. I think Starr King was there during 
the Civil War. 

"Bayard Taylor thought 'Shirt Tail Canon' should be called 'Spartan 
Canon,' but we were not classical enough for the change in those days. Our 
family lived quietly in 'Welcome Cottage' — not of the 'madding crowd'." 

Col. E. D." Baker 

The writer asked this charming narrator whether she heard Col. E. D. 
Baker give his famous speech on the upper porch of the Forest House in 
August, 1859. She said she heard that address, and that Colonel Baker and 
her father were old friends. Both had served in a constitutional conven- 
tion in Illinois. Colonel Baker was a very ambitious man and was deter- 
mined to go to the United States Senate, and was at that time in California, 
as a candidate for Congress, making those wonderfully patriotic speeches. 
He came as a guest to her father's house in Yankee Jims ; and her father 
took her to Forest Hill to hear Colonel Baker speak. 

The writer also asked his correspondent whether the traditional story, 
repeated at Forest Hill, was correct, which states that Colonel Baker 
wrapped around him the American flag as he spoke. She answered, "No." 
What he did was this : In the midst of his powerful address he turned 
towards a draped American flag, pointed towards it, and then grasping its 
folds reverently in his hands, poured forth the most wonderfully patriotic 
panegyric on the flag and what it stood for, and the United States govern- 
ment whose emblem he was then addressing, that she ever listened to. 
The narrator said her father took her next night to Michigan Bluff to hear 
the Colonel speak again. They were entertained by a prominent citizen at 
dinner, at which champagne was served. Just before the address began, 
the speaker quietly told her he could not make a good speech that evening; 
that he was afraid of a failure ; that he could not fight champagne. She 
described Colonel Baker as a man who was always strung up as a bent 
bow, always at his best under ordinary circumstances ; but wine, instead of 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 205 

exhilarating him to a more sublime beauty of thought, deadened and 
unstrung him. The speech was good, but not so profound and brilliant 
as that of the previous evening. On the way home, after the address, sev- 
eral hours- after the dinner, this wonderful man became himself again, and 
poured forth the most charming conversation, quoting Scott and other 
poets in the most happy mood. 

The intimacy between her father and Colonel Baker was so close that 
the narrator and other young members of the family ventured the tantaliz- 
ing badinage that he would never be a United States Congressman from 
California. He did indeed fail of election in California, but later went into 
Oregon and was there made a United States Senator, after which he wrote 
her a bantering letter inviting her, when in Washington, to call on the 
United States Senator from Oregon. It was not long afterward that this 
brilliant man lost his life leading his troops into action at Ball's Bluff. 

LOOMIS 

Loomis may be considered one of the new towns of the county. Old 
Pine Grove was followed by Pino when the Central Pacific Railroad passed 
up the mountains, but by reason of a similarity of names Pino interfered 
with Reno, over in Nevada, in the matter of misdirected or misrouted mail, 
express and freight; so the name was changed to Loomis. An old pioneer of 
the neighborhood "Jim" Loomis, was the whole town for a time — saloon- 
keeper, railroad agent, express agent, and- postmaster. He was not very 
progressive and, it is said, kept the letters and mail matter in a cigar box on 
the end of his saloon bar. An unconfirmed rumor related is to the effect that 
when a United States inspector objected to this method of handling a post 
office for the government, unprogressive Jim picked up the mail, cigar box 
and all, and tossed it into the street. 

A kite-shaped race-track was once kept in order here. It started just 
south of Loomis's saloon and circled southerly and around through the 
chaparral brush, coming out on the home-stretch where it started. Country 
boys with speedy horses patronized the track on Sunday. 

But times changed. Stone quarries were opened up near the station ; 
and fruit planting started. About 1885 a boomer, J. J. Morrison, became 
railroad agent. A town lot sale was had ; cross-roads were made toward 
the American River and the ridge on the west, and Loomis began to gather 
in what belonged to her. An English colony settled west and east of the 
town and soon Loomis began to take on prosperous ways. The main roads 
were kept in good repair — "sand-papered," envious politicians declared. 

Fruit houses came in due time. There are five now; and next to New- 
castle, Loomis is the largest fruit-shipping station in the county. In 1915 
a lot of progressive farmers started the Bank of Loomis, with $25,000 capi- 
tal stock, since increased to $150,000. Then came a bad fire which wiped 
out most of the business part of the town, but proved in the end to be for 
the better. Most every destroyed building has since been rebuilt with 
brick, concrete or tile, so that the business part of Loomis, from the bank 
building to the veterinary stables, is built up of the best materials. The 
Law Brothers have recently housed their fruit-shipping and agricultural- 
implement business in a hollow-tile structure 100 by 100 feet in size. Noia 
& Gatt's new butcher shop and stores are in a fine pressed-brick structure. 
There are two churches in the village, the Episcopal and the Congregational, 
the latter a fine structure costing $18,000. 



206 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Large nursery fields of budded and grafted fruit stock are grown 
between Loomis and Rocklin. 

ROCKLIN 

This place was once a very prosperous town. First of all, it had the 
roundhouse and railroad shops of the overland railroad. Next it had, in 
and near the town, many stone-cutting yards. The rock was of a lighter 
color than that at Penryn. Part of the walls of the State Capitol were 
built from Rocklin granite. The quarries are not very active, owing to the 
general lack of demand for cut granite. 

In 1905-1906 the railroad company began the work of enlarging the 
railroad yards. The company modestly asked for land sufficient for only 
five switches. The land was secured at a cost of about $1500; but when it 
was offered to the company, the town trustees were informed that it was 
the company's intention to move the roundhouse and shops to Roseville, 
at the junction with the Oregon line. This was a severe blow to Rocklin. 
The cost of securing the space for the five new tracks was refunded to 
Rocklin by the railroad, and a fake funeral notice was published, entitled : 
"Died at Rocklin, April 18, 1908. The Rocklin Roundhouse. A native of 
California. Aged forty-two years. Interment at Roseville." That sounds 
like extinction, but the old town is not yet dead. A good baseball field 
covers part of the former railroad yards. 

Near Rocklin, northerly over what is called Boulder Ridge, is located 
what is known as the J. Parker Whitney estate. In all, the estate com- 
prised about 22,000 acres of land which, during the Civil War, was used as 
a great sheep range. The home place north of Rocklin was like an old 
baronial estate in England. It was palatial in size, with suitable out- 
buildings, stables, and kennels for his hunting-dogs, etc. The winding 
driveways, with fine stone bridges over the small streams and ditches, look 
very substantial. The writer first visited the place in 1874, and saw the 
method used by Mr. Whitney in drying his Muscat grapes into raisins. It 
is claimed that Whitney shipped from his estate the first carload of raisins 
cured in California. 

APPLEGATE 

Lisbon Applegate settled on the Auburn and Illinoistown road, north- 
west of the present station, in 1849. A village grew up called Lisbon ; and 
later a post office and precinct had the same name. G. W. Applegate was 
postmaster for many years. Mr. Applegate was a prominent man in the 
fruit business, and experimented in a search for good kinds and varieties. 
One of his later experiments was the grafting of the Eastern chestnut into 
the thrifty black oaks of the forest. 

The present Applegate Station lies northeast of Auburn and has an 
elevation of 2014 feet above the sea. Many years ago an Esoteric commu- 
nity was started there by a man by the name of Butler. It flourished for 
a time, putting out literature and books of their cult. A post office of the 
better class was established to accommodate them and other people. 

The summer-resort business for lower Placer County may be said to 
have started here, and to have grown at this place from a hammock strung 
between two pine trees in the shade up to a fine boarding-house with all 
the modern comforts. It is a progressive neighborhood, having a commu- 
nity hall, farm bureau center, and school. It has a registered voting popu- 
lation of seventy-nine people. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 207 

SHERIDAN 

This place was named in honor of Gen. Phil. Sheridan. It is situated 
on the Oregon railroad near the northwestern part of the valley portOn 
of Placer County, and is about twenty miles northwest from the county seat. 
The place was first called "Union Shed" by E. C. Rogers, who settled there 
in 1855, and in 1857 built the "Shed," a one-story house 24 by 80 feet, with 
the unenclosed shed 40 by 40 feet, 20 feet high. Under this big shed mon- 
strous freight teams could be sheltered from sun and storm. There was 
also a large barn and corral connected with the place. It was at the cross- 
roads and was a very popular place. It was not uncommon for from forty 
to sixty big teams to stop each day at the "Shed," have dinner or stop over 
night, and in any event lay in sufficient food for the stock during the round 
trip into the mountains. It was a sort of market-place for the country 
farmer with his hay and barley. 

There was a dancing-school here two evenings of each week, and a big 
ball was held once each month. The valley and mountain people met and 
enjoved themselves, Sacramento, Marysville, Auburn and Grass \alle\- 
sending the visitors. 

A public school was needed, and Air. Rogers secured a new district 
called Norwich in 1864. He was elected one of the trustees, and Mrs. M. E. 
Reynolds was hired as teacher. Part of the big dwelling or "Shed" was 
given free as a schoolhouse, and the teacher was given free board and $60 
per month for two months, all at the expense of Mr. Rogers. Later the 
teacher's wages were paid back from the school funds. Mr. Rogers re- 
mamed school trustee for fourteen years. In 1860 a voting precinct was 
established. 

The "Shed" was on high ground, and stock-raisers met there to look 
over the valley and spy out their stock. They finally erected a "look-out" 
forty feet high, with a four- or five-foot telescope at the apex, to aid in 
spying out their stock. 

In 1865 a church was started, the ball-room of the "Shed" being used. 
In 1866 the railroad was built past the "Shed" into Wheatland, and then 
the place began to decline. In 1868 a bad fire nearly destroyed all of Mr. 
Rogers' possessions. 

In 1866 the Sheridan depot was established. The post office was started 
in 1868. Mr. Young Dougherty being postmaster. Next came E. C. Rog- 
ers, who held the position for many years. 

Sheridan had three stores, one drug-store, two hotels, two blacksmith 
shops, a school, two churches. Baptist and Methodist, an Odd Fellows 
Lodge, and two temperance organizations prior to 1881. A flouring mill 
was built in 1870, under the patronage of the late Mark Hopkins, for Daniel 
Click, who later became the owner of the mill. The mill was run by steam 
and had a capacity of 175 barrels per day. It has long since burned down. 

MANZANITA GROVE 
This famous grove lies midway between Sheridan and Lincoln. The 
name was derived from a dense grove of manzanita bushes standing out in 
the open valley. In early days the bushes were very dense and close 
together. It was once the headquarters for a band of horse-thieves, who 
kept their stolen stock in a corral near the center of the grove. I 'ak trees 
seem to have crowded out the manzanita in later years. 



208 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Since 1855 the grove has been put to a more sacred use than in early days. 
About 1855 the people began using it as a burying-ground. The first burial 
was that of a man named Wyman. There are some very fine monuments 
in the grove. The towns mainly using it for burials are Lincoln, Sheridan, 
and Wheatland. It is a very picturesque spot, and many a true pioneer 
of lower Placer County asks that he be buried in Manzanita Grove. The 
place is cared for by an annual subscription. 

LINCOLN 

This thriving little city is located on the California and Oregon Rail- 
road ten miles northerly from the railroad junction at Roseville and four- 
teen miles due west from Auburn. It is in the valley part of Placer County 
and is surrounded by the best of farming country. Toward the east and 
in the low foothills much fine fruit is raised. It sometimes happens that a 
town has a productive country on one side of it only, while the other side 
may be cut off by a river or a barren mountain, or some other unfavorable 
circumstance ; but Lincoln is in the center of a rich producing country in 
all directions. Lincoln shipped 126 cars of fruit in 1923. In addition to 
farming and fruit-raising, another industry that may be farther developed 
in the vicinity is that of rice-culture. During the season of 1919, Wallace G. 
Hemphill cut and harvested about forty acres of good rice adjoining the 
town on the south. 

The town was named in honor of Charles Lincoln Wilson, the builder 
of the first railroad to the place, the California Central Railroad, which was 
finished to Lincoln on October 31, 1861. The road ultimately reached 
Marysville, but it soon became a part of the California and Oregon line. 
For many years a railroad bed could be traced for a few miles eastward 
from Lincoln towards Auburn. Although there is evidence of much sluice- 
mining east of Lincoln on the edge of the plain, no permanent town was 
located there. 

The first settlers in what is now Lincoln were John Chapman, G. Gray 
and John Ziegenbein, who came in 1859. Others followed rapidly when the 
railroad reached the place. In 1863 the town was very prosperous, there 
being about 500 inhabitants, six or eight stages running out of Lincoln in 
different directions. In 1867 the flour mill of Ziegenbein, Heffner & Com- 
pany burned, with a loss of about $30,000. J. R. Nickerson, a fruit farmer 
near by, was very progressive as a fruit-raiser. Steven D. Burdge was a 
practical wine-maker, having learned the business in Italy. The Burdge 
Hotel was later named after this active citizen. 

In 1873 coal was discovered near Lincoln. Colonel Wilson prospected 
the locality thoroughly and dug a large shaft down to the coal, about sixty 
feet. Hoisting works were erected and samples of the coal were sent to 
the Sacramento water-works for testing in January, 1874. The trial was 
satisfactory. A test was also made of the coal at Guttenberg's Foundry, 
and the castings were reported of the best. 

Lincoln is a substantial little city, evidencing much prosperity inside 
her limits. The streets are wide and are laid out rectangular in form. 
The California and Oregon railroad runs north and south through the place, 
and practically all of the business houses are on the east side of the tracks. 
This up-to-date little city of the plains has all modern improvements, such 
as municipal water-works under pressure from the hills on the east, city 
hall, library, high and elementary schools, women's club rooms, a park, 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 209 

and good, well-graded streets. The State cement road to Marys ville passes 
through the city. There are two hotels, two flourishing banks, and large 
grain warehouses with an elevator, which bespeak prosperity. There are 
also a chamber of commerce, three churches, and the usual fraternal orders 
of a live town. Gladding, McBean & Company's Pottery works, which 
employ the services of 600 employees, are located in the northern part of 
the town, and a large and well-supplied cannery is located in the southern 
part. Below will be found a concise article describing the Lincoln pottery 
works ; but the raw material of their pits deserve a fuller description, which 
is given here. An examination of the clay was made by Prof. H. G. Hanks, 
of San Francisco, who was much impressed with its value, finding its char- 
acter to be the very best for pottery work of all classes, and one quality 
excellent for fire-brick. Its elements are as follows: Water, 4.70; coarse 
sand, 5.30; fine sand, 3.17; pure porcelain clay, 86.23. It is plastic, tena- 
cious, and infusible when baked. The sand is silica ; and for coarse work 
or the manufacture of fire brick, this characteristic is an advantage. The 
layers of the deposit are as follows: Four feet of soil, six feet of white 
clay, sixteen inches of fine white sand with a little water, five feet of coarse 
cream-colored clay mixed with coarse white sand, twelve feet of pure kaolin, 
twelve feet of clay and coal alternating, eight feet of coal, and below this, 
clay and sand to a depth as yet unknown. The coal is similar to that now 
being worked at Lincoln, but somewhat heavier and denser. 

Thirty-five years ago the pottery works began aiding Lincoln in an 
indirect way by buying thousands of cords of wood for the many kilns in 
use. This made a sure market for every cord of wood the intending fruit- 
farmers of the near-by foothills could cut and haul to the pottery, besides 
giving employment to several hundreds of men. 

A brief statement of the accidental discovery of the clay may be of 
interest. Towle Brothers, of Dutch Flat and later of Alta and Towle, in 
1874-1875 used many yokes of oxen in their lumber business during the 
summer months. During the winter months these work oxen were sent 
down to a cousin, Ed Towle, located north of Lincoln, for care and pasture. 
Connected with the home ranch there was a rolling ridge of poor-looking, 
rock-covered ground. It was fenced in and produced early grazing for the 
work oxen. At the east end of the ridge ran a county road in a northerly 
and southerly direction. A little over a mile above Lincoln this road, to 
avoid climbing over this ridge, was made to curve eastward and pass over 
a neighbor's land and around the point of the ridge. An enterprising road- 
master decided to straighten the county road; so he started a cut through 
the low ridge. He had proceeded only about ten feet with his new road-cut 
when he ran into a body of pure white kaolin clay, equal to the best Chi- 
nese product. This rocky ridge curves around a long distance to the south- 
west, prospecting clay all the way. Other clay companies have opened 
other pits, and from all appearances the deposit is almost inexhaustible. 

The fuel now used in the pottery is crude oil. and hydro-electric 
power is used to drive the large number of presses, and tolling and grinding 
machines, etc. This power is secured from another large producing cor- 
poration having extensive works in this county, the Pacific Gas & F.lectric 
Company. One of the large dry-pan grinders has a capacity of 150 t ■ > i i ~ 
daily. This fact is mentioned as showing the immense capacity of the 
pottery works. 



210 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

The clay products are shipped as far as Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, 
Seattle and Portland. In 1922 the writer saw an immense finished struc- 
ture in Honolulu, Hawaii, nearly covering a small commercial block, the 
material in which was a product of this pottery. 

The following concise statement, alluded to above, was prepared for 
the writer when Albert J. Gladding was requested to give an account of 
Lincoln's main commercial enterprise. 

Gladding, McBean & Company's Clay Products Plant 

"The late Charles Gladding, a resident of Chicago, visited California in 
the winters of 1874 and 1875, and while in San Francisco noticed an article 
in the Daily Alta California of the discovery of clay and coal at Lincoln. 
Upon a visit to Lincoln, he found this to be correct ; so he procured samples 
of the clay from the coal mine that C. L. Wilson was operating at that 
time, and took them with him on his return to Chicago. From there he 
sent them to Akron, Ohio, to an old friend, who was engaged in the manu- 
facture of vitrified sewer pipe, to have them tested. After burning, he 
pronounced the quality of the clay fine for making this and kindred wares. 

"On May 1, 1875, Charles Gladding, Peter McG. McBean and George 
Chambers, also of Chicago, formed a copartnership under the firm name of 
Gladding, McBean & Company. Mr. Gladding then returned to Lincoln 
with a party of expert workmen in the manufacture of vitrified sewer pipe, 
and arriving there May 12, 1875, immediately erected a suitable building 
and kiln for the manufacture of this material ; and he was identified with 
the manufacturing end of the business up to the time of his death. The 
machinery arrived from the East on June 24, consisting of a boiler, engine, 
pumps, steam press with dies, and a roller crusher. 

"Mr. P. McG. McBean took charge of the sales department of the busi- 
ness and established an office and yard in San Francisco, in August. 1875, 
which he continued to conduct up to the time of his death. 

"The first carload of vitrified sewer pipe was delivered in San Fran- 
cisco on August 9, 1875. From time to time other classes of clay building 
products were added, and in 1883 they commenced the manufacture of 
architectural terra cotta for buildings. As the population of the State in- 
creased, the business grew and prospered, although suffering adverse and 
discouraging situations, including a severe fire which almost wiped them 
out ; and they have, after forty-nine years of persevering management, 
labor and finance, built up a gigantic establishment from a very modest 
beginning. 

"Gladding, McBean & Company have a total space of thirty to forty 
acres under roof. Twenty-two round down-draft kilns, twelve muffle kilns, 
and a recently installed tunner kiln are required to produce the 50,000 tons 
of all types of burned clay products which make up the present annual 
output of the company. Six hundred employees operate the various ma- 
chines and equipment that turn out these several products. 

"Albert J. Gladding, a son of the late Charles Gladding, assisted by 
his son, Charles, have charge of the clay pits and that part of the plant 
producing sewer pipe, drain tile, chimney pipe, roofing tile, and face brick; 
and Mr. J. B. DeGolyer has charge of the architectural terra cotta depart- 
ment. They have recently added to the latter the manufacture of garden 
pottery ; and they find there is a growing demand for this beautiful ware 
for lawns, porticoes and interior decorations. 

"The general offices of the firm are in the Crocker Building, San Fran- 
cisco. A large staff of office help is employed in their beautiful and spa- 
cious offices. Mr. Atholl McBean of San Francisco, son of the late P. McG. 
McBean, is president of the company. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 211 

"The original promoters of the business have all passed to their 
reward — Charles Gladding in January, 1894; George Chambers in October, 
1896; and Peter McG. McBean in October, 1922. The business is still 
being carried on by the sons and grandsons of these pioneers in the clay 
industry on the Pacific Coast." 

ROSEVILLE 
Old Roseville, or the "Junction" 

Before attempting a description of modern Roseville and its wonderful 
growth in wealth and population since the establishment of railroad head- 
quarters, roundhouse, and freight yards there by the Southern Pacific Rail- 
way Company in 1906-1908, the writer will here give a brief account of Old 
Roseville, or the "Junction," as it was most generally called. 

It is not certain how Roseville got its name. Some say it came from 
near-by Rose Spring. Others declare it was due to the railroad men's 
disputing over the charms of a pretty waitress called Rose ; but this can 
hardly be the correct solution, for Roseville had its sweet name while the 
railroad men disputed at Rocklin about the hard run "over the hill," and 
the long hours and short pay. Still others say that in early times the ravine 
banks were beautiful with wildflowers and roses, and hence the name. 

The first railroad through the present town was the California Central 
from Folsom to Lincoln. Two or three years later the Central Pacific 
Railroad crossed the Lincoln road nearly at right angles near the northerly 
end of the present depot, and this became the "Junction." 

Many years ago the fact that Roseville depot was about the half-way 
point from Auburn to Sacramento, combined with the lack of pennies (the 
five-cent piece being then the smallest coin in common local use), led to 
an amusing situation. When the thrifty-minded discovered that the frac- 
tion of a mile affected the fare in their favor, a Sacramento passenger from 
Auburn would buy a ticket to Roseville, and then, on arrival there, quickly 
buy another from Roseville to Sacramento, thereby saving five cents ; but 
an occasionally slow ticket agent or a too-quick "Ail-aboard" of the con- 
ductor, and a missed train now and then, soon stopped that method of 
"beating" the railroad. 

Placer County, as now bounded, never contained a Spanish grant 
within its limits. As shown elsewhere, John A. Sutter, in 1843, sold a tract 
of land of immense size, bounded by the Sacramento and American Risers 
on two sides and later recorded in San Francisco, Sacramento. Sutter, and 
Placer Counties. Yet in the early days of the Rebellion there were two or 
three very large sheep ranges, wool during the war and for several years 
later commanding very high prices. On the official county map of 1887 
two large tracts of land are shown, one called the Spring Valley Ranch, 
lying northwest of Rocklin and then the property of J. Parker Whitney. 
mentioned elsewhere. South of this was a larger tract called the Kaseberg 
Ranch, said to contain 28,000 acres, which extended from Roseville north 
and west to the tule lands of the Sacramento River. In early days a man 
by the name of Leet located 10,500 acres with government script. Later. 
Stephen A. Boutwell bought out Leet, and also bought the railroad land, 
which made a continuous east and west strip of land about twenty-five 
miles in length. Of thi^ vast range, Stephen A. Boutwell owned three- 
fourths and William Dunlap the remaining one-fourth. Later, by sales and 
estate distributions, the major part of these lands became the property of 



212 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

James Kaseberg, and in 1887 the place was called the Kaseberg Ranch, 
which contains some very fine land. 

The largest assemblages of people in Placer Count)- in early days were 
gathered at the Odd Fellows picnics, held at Leet's Grove, a mile and one- 
half north of Roseville, on the Dunlap and Boutwell ranches. Stephen A. 
Boutwell, an Odd Fellow, and William Dunlap yearly reserved 160 acres of 
grass from sheep-grazing for the Odd Fellows day, April 26. 

The Placer Herald of May 4, 1872, in describing the picnic, said that 
forty-four carloads were brought from Sacramento, and 300 other people 
came from Western Placer to hold their outing among the stately oaks of 
Leet's Grove, on grounds as fine as can be found anywhere in the world. 
Forty policemen kept order, and the 160 acres were dotted with champagne 
bottles. 

There were about 42,000 acres in the great Dunlap-Boutwell-Kaseberg 
estate, probably the largest landed property in the middle Sacramento 
Valley not based on a Mexican grant. Starting in the fifties, it was accumu- 
lated by purchase from private parties and from school and railroad lands, 
and by the use of soldiers' scrip. The interests in the land were much com- 
mingled at various times through partnerships and inter-related families. 
For a time as many as 30,000 head of sheep were sheared each year on the 
ranch. On this and the adjoining Parker Whitney ranch, in the early days, 
were kept the first imported sheep in California. The flocks of both ranches 
were steadily improved for half a century by importing pure-bred rams, and 
became the oldest flocks of continuous improved breeding in the West. Wool 
from these flocks always sold above the market price of wool in the San 
Francisco markets. Upon the Boutwell and Dunlap ranches were owned 
some of the first thoroughbred and trotting horses in California. 

The first printed Great Register of the county, which lies before the 
writer, was printed in 1872. The names were alphabetically arranged 
through the whole register, and it took a nimble clerk to find and tally the 
voters if they presented themselves rapidly. In 1896 the names were alpha- 
betically arranged for each precinct. This gave Roseville 171 votes, county 
and town, beginning with Isaac Akes, a farmer, and ending with Chris 
Michael Zeh, a farmer. In those days the printed copy of the Great Reg- 
ister for all precincts had very full data for identification purposes, which 
the legislature in its wisdom (?) later cut down to name, party, occupa- 
tion and address. The old list was more valuable (at least for the police 
department and sheriff), giving data as follows: Name, business or occu- 
pation, age, height (feet and inches), complexion, color of eyes, color of 
hair, visible marks or scars (if any), and the locality, country or nativity, 
local residence, precinct, post-office address at date of entry, naturalization 
(date — month, day, year — court, place), able to read the Constitution in 
English, able to write name, able to mark ballot, nature of disability, date 
of registration (month, day and year). 

They evidently had large families in Roseville in those days, as one 
may infer from the number of adult voters of the names listed. I read, of 
the name Astill, 2; Butler, 3; Cirby, 3; Dyer, 4; Gould, 4; Herring, 3; 
Holt, 3 ; Ross, 4 ; Schellhous, 7 (one teacher, four farmers, and two black- 
smiths) ; Banquier, 3; Stephenson, 3; Thomas, 4; Way, 3; Wilson, 3. 
These were all adult men — no women, boys, or girls. 

Many names in the register call up interesting recollections. The name 
of J. D. Pratt, of Township No. 1, no doubt refers to our former supervisor, 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 213 

who long made a first-class brick that sold at $10 per thousand, as the 
writer recalls. John Louis (or Louie) Bulens conducted the depot saloon. 
The big, round ball of tin foil was a wonder ! The old depot was about 
where the depot is now located, the local justice of the peace court often 
being located in one of the large rooms. The Astills were farmers. Alfred 
Bedell was a fruit-grower and a relative of Uncle Billy Bedell of Spring- 
ville, Iowa. Benjamin Dryer was a brick-mason, and inspector of work in 
the building of our new county court-house, as the writer recalls. Jolly, 
good-natured George Goodpastor was a fine carpenter and, it is said, fitted 
and hung the large mahogany doors in our State Capitol. The three Her- 
ring boys and the three Holts were farmers. 

Then there was George Edward Lamphrey, the politician, who once 
seated in perfect order 1200 convicts at Folsom State Prison dining-room 
while the writer was present, his only implement of defense and authority 
(in sight) being a small mallet with which he tapped a stand as the prison- 
ers marched in perfect order down the aisles and to their several tables. 
The disproportion of 1200 to 2 was very uncomfortable to the writer, but 
Lamphrey's instructions were carefully observed: "Stand there, dead still; 
don't speak." 

Alexander Bell McRae and Edwin Purdy were stockmen ; Thomas 
Francis Royer was a brick-maker ; Julius Neville Sawtelle was a livery- 
stable man, and his brother William was a merchant ; Homer Charles Trip- 
pett was for a time the local magistrate ; and Jesse Blair, formerly from 
Arkansas, was a saloon-keeper. 

The Thomas store was on the main road leading towards Sacramento, 
and generally held the post office. Just below the Thomas store was the 
small store of Philetus Varo Siggins, a very intelligent man, who generally 
knew what was going on in Roseville. Below the town was a long, straight 
road with an easy turn to the right, with another stretch of good road 
where the fast horses of that section were tried out. Miss Charlotte M. 
Pitcher ran the Thomas store as her own for several years, and was also 
postmistress for a time. She was versed in handing out convention facts 
and the latest "dope" just before an election. This store was located south 
of the present north boundary fence of the railroad. 

But times have changed ; and the "Junction" has now become a thriving 
city of about 6000 people. 

Modern Roseville 

Eighteen years ago Roseville, or the "Junction," as it was then called, 
was a village of about 250 inhabitants. About that time the writer was 
city attorney of Rocklin, assisting in securing a strip of land wide enough 
for five long switches on the east side of the main track for better railroad 
facilities. An election was held, the money was raised, and the needed 
additional lands were ready to be purchased when word came that the rail- 
road authorities had concluded that they did not want the land, that they had 
decided to move the roundhouse and yards to Roseville. The company paid 
Rocklin for all her costs and expenses of election, making new streets, etc. 

Immediately Roseville began to boom, and Rocklin began to decline as 
a railroad town. Large tracts of land were purchased on both sides of the 
main track in Roseville, extending southerly, for large yards, hut not enough 
land was secured. The improvements were laid out on a large scale. Before 
1908 the company had spent $2,000,000 in building two large roundhouses 
of thirty-two stalls each, and forty-five miles of side tracks. 



214 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

The citizens, with the rapid influx of new-comers, have had their prob- 
lems to meet: Where ought the library to be located? Where should the 
overhead, trans-railroad bridge be built? On which street should the 
across-the-ravine bridge be built? And then the question of compromise 
with the railroad : What street or streets should remain open to traffic 
across the railroad tracks? Where should the passenger and freight depots 
be located to accommodate the traveling and business people of the town? 

On April 25, 1908, the official transfer was made by the railroad from 
Rocklin to Roseville. Rocklin had been the railroad headquarters for forty- 
two years, with a big stone roundhouse, yards, tracks, employees, and all 
that went with a prosperous overland railroad, and a high mountain division 
to climb over. It was all accomplished quietly and systematically. It is 
said that not a railroad man lost his regular run over the mountains. The 
railroad men immediately began moving to Roseville, taking their houses 
with them, and for many months part of the town was on wheels. About 
100 houses were moved to Roseville. 

The Roseville Chamber of Commerce began to function in a broad and 
understanding manner. The people realized that they were changing from 
a village to a city. There was no doubt as to what was needed to properly 
carry on a first-class railroad yard, storage space, ice plant, and train- 
dispatching facilities for two immense railroad systems. The citizens were 
never in doubt when to stop the building of dwellings and store-houses. The 
problem was simply to build as fast as possible till the limit of eight or ten 
thousand inhabitants should be reached. 

The building of what is known as the "Cut-off," from Rocklin to Colfax, 
was easily managed from a well-equipped head yard. 

Civic improvements followed in rapid succession. The Roseville Bank- 
ing Company started in 1906. Electric lights and water were put in. Two 
new hotels were erected, the Barker and Ramona. The fire hydrants started 
with fifteen and soon, rose to sixty. Dwelling-houses went up by streets, 
and not singly, the demand was so great. In 1908 the population had 
increased from 400 to 2000. 

The school census of 1908 showed 313 children, about double that of 
1907. On April 20, 1908, a bond election for two new schoolhouses was 
carried by a vote of 90 to 10, and the buildings were erected immediately. 

In the fall of 1908 the railroad company made a sharp advance in their 
improvements and increased the number of their employees greatly, some 
of the new employees entering the icing plant. Five work trains were en- 
gaged in ballasting the Cut-off track. Gasoline motor cars to Colfax and 
Oroville were given a try-out. 

The city kept pace with the growth of business, laying out new streets, 
and providing lights and sidewalks. The Southern Pacific Company put in 
its own sewer, light and water systems, and requested not to be included 
in the plans for the newly incorporated city, which were carried out in 
April, 1909. The first trustees were William Sawtelle, R. F. Theile, William 
Hainan, Dr. B. AVoodbridge, and R. H. Wells. 

In 1909 the Pacific Fruit Express ice plant was enlarged again. At the 
start forty to fifty men were employed, turning out 150 tons daily. The 
present capacity is 1250 tons per day. They iced one train of twenty cars 
at a time then. In 1924 they can ice four trains of fifty cars each. 

About this time the Pacific Fruit Express Company moved its big 
repair shops from Sacramento to Roseville and set them up beside the 
ice plant, with about 100 employees. Many families came with this improve- 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 215 

inent, and of necessity more houses were built — 500 of them in three years, 
besides the 100 moved down from Rocklin. One of the largest public build- 
ings was A.-B. McRae's opera house, with up-to-date stores and offices below. 

Patrick Johnson was the first city attorney. U. S. Marshall was city 
engineer. The first trustees and officers of the city showed much good judg- 
ment in planning for the future growth of Roseville. All of the municipal 
work seems to have been planned and started correctly, looking to the future. 
A subway was put in at the Bedell crossing. The stock yards were erected 
at the southern part of the plant on a broad plan. The company also 
enclosed the big yards with a board fence eight feet high, thus accentuating 
the fact that the works were in, but not of, the Roseville city government. 

The first assessment roll aggregated a total of $714,365. The planting 
of street trees and roses began at this time. 

In August, 1909, the total number of cars handled through the Rose- 
ville yards was 75,539. In January, 1910, the first of the Baldwin Mallet 
articulated oil-burning locomotives reached Roseville to stay. The twins, 
Nos. 4000 and 4001, had been practicing "over the hill" and showed what 
they could do. In all, sixteen were installed. One of the roundhouses had 
its tracks deepened twenty feet to accommodate these monsters and other 
types soon to arrive. A new turn-table also had to be built. Greatly enlarged 
car shops were erected, and also a large brick store-room. The passenger 
depot was moved back to its old location inside the "Y," and much improved. 
About this time (1910), the railroad men serving the company, running out 
of Roseville, numbered from 700 to 1000, according as the times were slack 
or busy. The Pacific Fruit Express acquired 3500 more refrigerator cars, 
which brought the total ownership up to 10,000. 

On June 28, 1910, Roseville voted a $90,000 bond issue for the purpose 
of installing a sewer system, for building a bridge across Dry Creek at the 
foot of Lincoln Street, and for building and installing an electric light and 
power system. This gave a great impetus to the real-estate business. 

Four hundred pupils entered at the opening of the schools in September, 
1910, and there were nine teachers. In the same month the Women's Im- 
provement Club of Roseville was organized. 

In November, 1910. the Roseville Home Telephone Company bought 
out the old company. The company was composed of G. N. Hanisch, presi- 
dent ; J. A. Hill, vice-president; and L. L. King, secretary. 

In December, 1910, Roseville became the transfer headquarters for the 
passenger service "over the hill," and the engineers and firemen made Rose- 
ville their headquarters. The monthly pay-roll of the company at this time 
was $75,000. 

The city needing a City Hall, the Presbyterian Church was bought, 
moved and remodeled into a convenient municipal building. The Carnegie 
Library, described elsewhere, was erected on a lot given by A. B. McRae 
about this time. 

In May, 1911, the high school proposition was voted on and carried 1>\ 
a majority of seven to one, and the school was started in an old hotel. 

In June. 1912, the question was agitated of erecting a county exhibit 
room on the railroad "Y." At that time the county supervisors refused to 
incur the expense, but later they made a tax levy of $3500 to erect the 
building. A swimming pool was opened on November 1 in the basement 
of the Presbyterian Church. 

In 1913 the Pacific Fruit Express doubled the capacity of its ice plant. 
They spent $75,000 in bringing their cold-storage capacity from 15,000 tons 



216 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

to 30,000. With other improvements added, this makes the largest ice plant 
in the West. 

The local newspaper stepped to the front at about this time, with a new 
Model 10 linotype. 

In March, 1913, a bond election was called for $20,000 to complete the 
paving of the State Highway through Roseville. 

In June, 1914, $45,000 of bonds were voted for the proposed high school, 
and $20,000 were sold to aid the grammar schools. 

In 1914 there were five churches in Roseville: Methodist, Roman Cath- 
olic, Baptist, Presbyterian and Protestant Episcopal. The number has since 
been increased. 

The fraternal orders already installed at that time were as follows: 
Masons, Odd Fellows, Eagles, Moose, Knights of Pythias, Woodmen, Re- 
bekahs, Pythian Sisters, and the Eastern Star. The railroad employees also 
have all the branches of the railroad orders, which meet in the different 
halls of the city. 

That winter, the Farm Bureau was organized. 

During 1915 Roseville progressed as usual, starting her high school and 
finishing her paving system. 

Then the war came on. In April, 1916, Uncle Sam's recruiting auto- 
mobile brought the first poignant thrust of war ! And Roseville was the 
first town in the State to organize a Red Cross Society after the war was 
declared, starting with thirty-five members and rapidly raising the member- 
ship. Patriotic men of the home guards began drilling at once. There was 
a grimness about the people as they set themselves to prepare for war in 
the same concerted manner in which they had built a city. It had -been 
fun, this home building! This new call upon their resources was sober, 
somber, ominous. 

War soon filled every mind and heart. Liberty Loan bonds always 
went over the top in their sales. Roseville's first issue was for $40,000, 
which she subscribed nearly double. The Red Cross members stood ready 
for any kind of work. "Conscription Day passed quietly into history." Out 
of the 1700 men registered from Placer County, 545 came from Roseville. 

By mid-summer the Red Cross membership was 421, and the news- 
papers were publishing long lists of the numbers of men who were drafted, 
under the caption "Live, laugh and love — there'll come a time when you 
can't !" A banquet and dance was given to the first forty "soldiers of 
liberty" before they left for the training camps. 

Every organization in the city "bent a shoulder to the wheel" in num- 
berless ways. Women knitted, and men subscribed to the Red Cross, and 
everybody raised money for the Y. M. C. A. work. The people sent over 
Christmas boxes, and "went strong" for Liberty Bonds as usual. 

When the time came, citizens conserved food, and sent Red Cross nurses 
to war, and looked with pride to the service flag which represented the 
flower of the young manhood of the community ; and meanwhile they went 
bravely on, doing their "bit," though they knew that some of those service 
stars would turn to gold. They had stood stanchly together whilst building 
up a town. They would stand together still, to hold fast what that town 
represented ! Theirs was the sort of spirit that won the war. 

The Land Army came in for a share of attention from the women, and 
the Liberty League was actively run by the men. There were no munitions 
factories near, but some of the men went down to the bay to work in the 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 217 

shipyards, while in nearly every issue of the local paper there were long 
lists of young men who were scheduled for the army in France. 

In spite of the war preparations in 1916 the city fathers bought a site 
for a city park on Dry Creek, and named it Rover Park. 

Wallace Hemphill, who had built up the Roseville Water Company, 
drilled a deep well of 500 feet in the Theile Addition and struck a 1500- 
gallon-a-minute flow of clear, cold water. He installed a deep-well pump, 
and furnishes the best of water to the residents of that section. 

That fall the city trustees purchased a fire truck and elected A. Ridley 
fire chief. 

Mr. Sam Aronson bought out a rival auto stage line, and from that time 
to the present has given Roseville an accurately scheduled stage service to 
Sacramento. 

In October. 1918, the Spanish influenza reached Roseville; and the 
schools, public halls, churches and theaters were closed. A public hospital 
was established. The Women's Improvement Club took charge. The Tan- 
ner house on Vernon Street was cleaned, made into wards, and called the 
Community Hospital. Those faithful women did all the scrubbing, washing 
and nursing: and out of seventy-five patients, they only lost one sufferer. 
They also visited many patients at their own homes. After the war the 
women went back to the planting of trees and roses. 

In February. 1920, came another bond . election for a third grammar 
school, now called the Fisher School. 

The census of 1920 gave the city 4477 persons, a gain of 1869 in the past 
ten years. The city was then in need of eighty new homes for prospective 
residents. 

In December. 1920, the city bought the Pacific Gas and Electric Com- 
pany's plant for $6500, the company reserving the right to sell power to 
the Southern Pacific Company, the Pacific Fruit Express and the Roseville 
Water Company. 

During 1921 the Pacific Fruit Express enlarged its plant once more 
by putting in huge electric motors, greatly enlarging its ice tonnage. 

The years 1920 and 1921 were years of great improvement for Roseville. 
The yearly census of 1921 took the city over the 5000 mark. 

A third bank, the Roseville National, began operations on the corner 
of Lincoln and Vernon Streets. 

The new swimming pool, which was thrown open to the public in Sep- 
tember, was a delight for all. It was 40 feet wide and 100 feet long, with 
a continuous How of clear, clean water. Fifteen thousand gallons of water 
pass through the tank every hour. 

The Roseville Ice and Cold Storage plant was being built during the 
winter months by William Hainan and M. J. Rover, in preparation for the 
manufacture of ice for the summer of 1922. 

The Roseville Tribune installed two new Chandler and Price pic--. - 
in its job department. In November, l'>22. it added a new Model S Mergan- 
thaler linotype, making a mure perfect equipment. 

July brought the railway strike of the six federated shop craftsmen in 
the Roseville shops. The Pacific Fruit Express employees also walked out. 
lor many months there were dissension and trouble, but in the fall the 
railroad gates were opened once more and the company resumed its usual 
business. 



218 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

During 1920 the Pacific Fruit Express Company was scheduled to build 
seventy-five refrigerator cars a month. The year before the schedule was 
forty per month. 

Roseville's electric light, telephone and water lines are being rebuilt 
to keep pace with the needs of the city, and about ten new houses are being 
put up each month to satisfy the continuous demand. There is a radio club 
and a flying field. The city follows the Women's Improvement Club slogan : 
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might !" 

There is great probability that Roseville will become a much larger 
railroad center than at present, one of the" largest in the West. Recent 
statistics show that on September 21, 1923, forty-eight freight trains entered 
the Roseville yards and departed again. A train entered this yard, on an 
average, every 39 minutes and 32 seconds during September ; and a train 
departed from this yard, on an average, every 39 minutes and 25 seconds 
during the month — or an average of a train in or out of the yard every 19 
minutes and 44 seconds. A total of 101,133 cars were handled through this 
yard. On September 30, the heaviest day, 1718 freight and passenger cars 
moved east from Roseville over the summit. Again, a total of 4177 cars 
were handled at Roseville on September 30. On September 21 there were 
eighty-six freight trains received and dispatched at the Roseville yards. 



CHAPTER XI 

LAKE TAHOE AND OTHER RESORTS 

One of the outstanding features of Placer County is the great number 
of beautiful lakes and pleasure resorts in or near the borders of the county. 
There are two convenient ways of reaching camping places and resorts. 
The Southern Pacific Railroad runs nearly 100 miles northeasterly through 
the county, entering a few miles below Roseville on the plains and following 
the main ridge on the northerly side of the American River, weaving into 
and out of Nevada County on the northerly line, until Truckee is reached, 
where the road runs down the Truckee River into the State of Nevada. 
The other mode of transportation is by the State road system over the 
mountains, following very closely the overland railroad. The State road 
also is known by the names Lincoln Highway and Victory Highway. 

The United States Government, desirous of having one or more good 
highways over the high mountains, is aiding materially in the construction 
of the State highway, commencing at Auburn and improving easterly. 
There are several conditions connected with this assistance, one of which 
is that the road-bed must be not less than eighteen feet in width. Another 
is that the grade shall not exceed seven per cent, and no curve shall have 
a radius of less than 300 feet. Another safety measure is that all railroad 
grade crossings shall be eliminated if possible. 

With these conditions in view, the State has lately constructed a fine 
graded road from Auburn beyond Colfax. New surveys have been made, 
and in time easier grades may be made. In fact, going east, the demanded 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 219 

maximum is exceeded in only a few places now. Some heavy blasting has 
been going on from the summit down towards Dormer Lake, and it is 
claimed that the demanded grade will soon be secured over the new route 
from this lake to the summit. Under the present conditions, the State 
Highway Association recommends Eastern auto travelers to take the Placer 
County route going over the mountains, considering the easy grades and 
the nearness to railroad stations in view of an accident or sickness. 

Under these favorable conditions there is a heavy travel into and over 
the mountains. Fishing and camping parties are on the move daily during 
the summer months: it may be a single car holding two or four, or several 
cars holding a larger body of campers. "Where do they camp? The places 
are numerous. Some find stopping-places near Auburn ; others take the 
fine State road up towards Grass Valley, or beyond, up towards Downie- 
ville. Others, remembering the lure of our Forest Hill Divide, turn at 
Auburn and go up, and up, over the main and side roads to Forest Hill, 
Michigan Bluff, "Westville. Robinson's Flat, the Big Trees, French Meadows, 
and numerous intervening camping and fishing resorts. During the deer 
season the higher places mentioned are where deer can be found. The main 
divide or ridge road toward the Big Trees is an easy mountain grade, and 
many ravines and branches of the South Fork of the American River head 
below the main ridge. 

So far, the prospective camper has had suggested to him routes to the 
left and right from Auburn. Those desiring to go into the high mountains 
follow the railroad divide past Bowman, Clipper Gap and Applegate. Here 
the summer-resort places really begin. Years ago a hammock, swung 
between two pine trees, with a good camping ground, and later with a good 
dining-room near by, was deemed cheerful enough ; but now the presence 
of a farmer in the neighborhood, with an orchard and plenty of fruit, and 
his wife setting a good table, is considered a favorable circumstance. Real 
resorts, setting forth the best, can be found here ; and this may be called 
the beginning of our resorts along the State highway. From Applegate 
to Colfax it is nine miles, the road passing at Weimar what is called the 
Eleven Counties Tubercular Sanitarium, where the Colorado screen-porch 
and screened outdoor systems are given a practical trial. 

Colfax, with an elevation of 2421 feet above the sea, lies between the 
American River and Bear River, giving a salubrious climate, and is well 
up in the mountains. Here are centered many humanitarian efforts for the 
relief of city children who need an outing, and those who need proper care 
and strengthening for weak lungs, though the seriously sick are not desired, 
the writer is informed. Prevention and arresting are the main objects 
sought. 

Now the tourist follows an easy-graded road to Gold Run. through 
the pine trees, a distance of ten miles, coming into a mountainous fruit 
section, once a great hydraulic-mining district. For about two miles the 
railroad and highway run along a narrow ridge, with banks nearly perpen- 
dicular, 50 to 150 feet high, just as they were left in 1880 by the hydraulic 
miner. 

Before reaching Dutch Flat the mountain resorts come into evidence 
again, with clear water and all the necessary comforts. Down in the old 
town the hotel and boarding-houses cater in good style to the city man or 
woman. At Alta and Towle it is the same. At Bonnie Nook near-by 
cottages are for rental, as also above Towle. Now the tourist reaches the 



220 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

springs and water-pipes with that wonderfully cold mountain water. Little 
nooks and shady glens for camping-places are often met as the tourist 
proceeds towards Emigrant Gap. It is taken for granted that the traveler 
does not wish to stop at Emigrant Gap, or turn off here down into Bear 
Valley, although it is said good fishing may be had at the latter place. At 
Carpenter's Flat there are fine trees and good water. At Crystal Lake may 
be found good fishing, but it ■ is on private property. 

After passing through the railroad snow-sheds, you are in the Valley 
of the Yuba, and for many miles there are plenty of camping places and, 
generally, good fishing. Cisco Camp is located on the Yuba River, and 
here many campers are found. There are goods and supplies aplenty, but 
Cisco Hotel and a good store and road are only half a mile away. The 
Valley of the Yuba extends easterly, and the highway follows through it, 
giving more camping places. 

At the end of a long, easy grade, you come to Summit Station, where 
much shipping of sheep and lambs takes place. Here a road turns to the 
south, and in about ten miles you reach Soda Springs, once a famous 
summer resort, with real soda springs. The springs still run in all their 
bubbling freshness, but most of the fine buildings are gone. Several fine 
streams of mountain water are near by. If the old trail to Robinson's 
Flat, about seven miles, were made into a fair road, an alternate drive to 
the summit would pass up the Forest Hill Divide. Certain Sacramento 
people have a club-house near the springs, which was once considered the 
"ne plus ultra" place for quiet literary people to hide away in. In the early 
eighties the writer and a party of friends visited the hotel, and while there 
the writer and his wife secured saddle-horses and climbed the near-by 
mountain, Tinker's Knob, the elevation of which is over 9000 feet. From 
the timber line, where the horses were left, it was a climb of about 1000 
feet over sharp, broken rocks. The register of successful climbers was 
kept in a large inverted tin can, weighted down with stones. 

One of the sources of the Yuba is widened out at the station by a 
long rock-and-dirt dam that impounds a large body of water, called Lake 
Van Norden. Three miles farther on, up an easy grade, are the Summit 
Hotel and the railroad pass, at an elevation of 7017 feet. The stranger 
going up that easy grade does not realize he is so near the summit, and 
may worry some as to how he is to scale a serious-looking ridge and high 
peaks to the east of him ; but he is made happy, a few rods beyond the 
hotel, to find a great gash between the peaks, and is soon on the down grade 
towards Donner Lake on the eastern side of the ridge. 

The Summit Hotel has been in the past a fine stopping-place for 
tourists. Many railroad people stop there. The two-mile tunnel for the 
Southern Pacific Railroad Company heads near by, and the State highway 
begins here, over the railroad tracks and tunnel, and finds its easy seven- 
per-cent grade down to Donner Lake. It is some longer than the present 
grade, but an easy grade and wide. 

Donner Lake is in Nevada County. It has many buildings and new 
improvements, and is a first-class resort. At the foot of the lake, where 
the "tragedy of the Sierras" took place in 1846, a fine monument com- 
memorating the sad event stands near the road. 

Truckee, a lively railroad town, is three miles from the lake, located 
on the Truckee River. The deep snows of this place enable it to reproduce 
many an Alaskan and Canadian scene, with its sleds, huskies and long- 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 221 

lashed whips, whose snap one fancies he can almost hear. Hollywood 
beauties, in their long; fur coats and moccasins, look half willing to be 
run away with by some fur-capped voyageur who looks suspiciously like 
a Boca ice-cutter. Those fur-capped voyageurs, we admit, are good actors, 
as they clash down and across the Truckee River in their canoes, on their 
errand of love or murder. That great ocean steamer, as it swings up to 
the long wharf and unloads its Alaskan passengers, looks much like the 
main steamer of a certain transportation company that makes daily trips 
around the top of the world at an elevation of 6225 feet. All of which goes 
to prove what a wonderful county we have, holding -prize-winning fairs 
in the citrus belt and, perhaps before the month is past, reeling off an 
Alaskan drama — snow, dogs, sleds, voyageurs, fur caps and overcoats, 
ocean steamers, Hollywood beauties, moccasins and all. 

Lake Tahoe 

In 1873 the writer spent his fourth of July vacation at Lake Tahoe. 
He walked from Summit Hotel to Donner Lake and saw many of the 
stumps, ten and fifteen feet high, which are claimed to be the stumps of 
trees cut by the Donner Part}', near the lower end of the lake. The morn- 
ing of the Fourth he rode on top of a stage loaded with sixteen passengers, 
with John Huntington as driver of the six fine horses, over the wonderful 
mountain grade to Tahoe City, where mine host, A. J. Bailey, of the Grand 
Central Hotel, treated his guests to Lake Tahoe trout. The writer's diary 
states that most of the day was spent on the Governor Stanford, going 
around the lake. Carnelian Springs Hotel and the Hot Springs Hotel were 
fine resorts at that time. Numerous trips to this wonderful "Lake of the 
Sky" have only served to increase the writer's love for the .charming body 
of fresh water, the largest located at so high an elevation, it is claimed, 
of any in the world. 

And yet, the lake seems to have been ill-fated from the first. An 
unpopular name was first officially thrust upon it. But the people of Cali- 
fornia never took kindly to the name Lake Bigler. Tahoe, the Indian 
name, still clings to its waters. According to the Washoe Indian dialect, 
"tah-oo-ee" means "much water." "Tah-ve" means "snow," and "tah-oo" 
means "water." The lake is surely a large body of snow-water from the 
melted snows of the mountains ; so the name Lake Tahoe seems descrip- 
tively correct. 

From the earliest settlement on the lake there has been manifest, it 
seems to the writer, a disposition on the part of a few to "grab" and 
monopolize the lake shore. From the date of entry of Tahoe City townsite 
in 1868, back to 1863, when the first townsite survey was made, there have 
always been public Commons, or public grounds, for the citizens, clear 
down to the shore line; but for the past twenty years the Commons have 
been occupied by lines of railroad, car barns, a private dwelling, and other 
obstructive nuisances. The courts have decided that the public Commons 
belong to the people and not to any corporation, notwithstanding the fact 
that the people themselves, and their officers, have been negligent and 
allowed a trespassing railroad company to crowd upon and occupy the 
public property. The village, called Tahoe City, is deserving of the friend- 
ship and assistance of every fair-minded citizen and taxpayer in Placer 
County. In times past it has had gates placed on its broad, eighty-foot 
main street. Two of its side streets have had buildings and obstructions 



222 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

erected on them. Its public Commons have been claimed and built upon 
without right, and a railroad company has constructed its railroad on piles 
around the ends of two side streets in the town. A private store building 
has been constructed on the shore of the lake, in front of the public Com- 
mons, without legal right. It was testified to, a few years ago, that there 
was not one inch of public ground on the lake shore not claimed. The 
contention was nearly true. "No trespassing" and "keep off" signs con- 
fronted an ordinary citizen and taxpayer at almost every point. It was 
almost impossible even to reach the lake shore without being technically 
a trespasser. 

The writer is proud to say that he has used his best efforts to improve 
the conditions at the lake. A suit, stubbornly fought up to the supreme 
court of the State, in effect, has resulted in a decree that the Commons be- 
long to the people and may be used by them. By another hard fight the 
State, instead of selling the State fish-hatchery lands north of the townsite, 
has set them apart as public camping grounds. Ex-Congressman Kent 
has donated and set apart a fine tract on the lake shore south of Tahoe City, 
also, for a free camp site. The Auburn Chamber of Commerce led off in 
these contests, John A. Livingston and E. T. Robie being among the valiant 
fighters, with others, for the rights of the people. 

But what is all the fuss about? some may say. Why spend money for 
a bit of lake shore? Why contest for the public Commons? The reason 
is very simple. The more beautiful a spot of nature may be, the more 
earnest a few are to fence it in and control it. Niagara Falls, Yosemite Val- 
ley, and hundreds of other places would long ago have been fenced in and 
controlled if the States had not made general rules by which all might be 
privileged to enjoy them. And there is another matter to be considered. 
For nearly a century there has been a bitter contest going on very quietly, 
as to which form of corporation shall control the transportation business 
of the United States. It is said on the best of authority and statistics, 
that three-fourths of all the best water fronts, lake fronts, ocean fronts; 
river fronts, and wherever rail and steamboat may contest for business and 
passenger traffic, are now controlled by these interests. The railroads have 
been quietly buying up available landing sites. Chicago is a fair sample. 
Sacramento City is another. Both are absolutely shut out from water navi- 
gation, except as a railroad may consent. 

Now the same conditions prevail at Lake Tahoe. There are very few 
good landing places for boats on the lake shore, coupled with another 
condition — nearness to the Truckee River and to a good graded road to 
connect with the Southern Pacific Railroad. The shore line of the Com- 
mons is shallow, at best ; yet it is available, by long enough wharf, for 
steamer connection. 

For the foregoing reasons, and other good ones, the writer has always 
contended that the people should hold fast to what they now have, and 
always have had — ownership of the public Commons for the benefit of the 
citizens of Tahoe City and the people of the county at large. 

There is another and very important reason why Placer County should 
hold an interest in the actual shore line of this beautiful lake. The shore 
line is held by Placer and Eldorado Counties and the State of Nevada — 
about one-third each, counting indentures and shore lines. Now the time 
may come when Placer and Eldorado Counties must take a firm stand as to 
how far the surface of the lake may be safely lowered without danger of 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 223 

great loss of property in the two counties. There are many hundreds of 
thousands of dollars' worth of property around the shores of both counties. 
By a sort of "gentlemen's agreement" with the general government and 
the State of Nevada, it has been understood and stipulated that the waters 
of the lake cannot be drawn off below a certain height or impounded at 
the gates above a certain height without damage following to our citi- 
zens. Of course, our people feel generously towards the citizens of our sis- 
ter State. Nevada. We feel that the last drop of water may be drawn on 
for irrigation and power purposes to the line of actual damage to our own 
citizens. Y\"e are not ready to admit, however, that the lake may be treated 
as a mere reservoir, to be dammed up till it rises, perhaps, ten feet above 
normal, and then to be pumped out twenty feet below normal. That 
we connot consent to : nor can we consent to the driving of a tunnel from 
the east side of the lake, tapping it thirty feet below the surface, as was 
once proposed. 

These are very serious questions ; and Placer County and its officers 
must always be ready to act intelligently, firmly and judicially when the 
time comes, as surely it will. Happily, our State attorney general is ever 
watchful. 

The writer started this chapter with the title. "Lake Tahoe and Other 
Resorts." There are many, and some very fine ones, and more will lie started, 
each one catering to its friends and patrons ; and each and all should re- 
ceive the same general treatment from the county and its officers. Thar. 
with good roads for all, is the hope of the writer. As far as. possible, there 
should be one good road from the State line at Brockway to the Eldorado 
County line. 

The writer gave much time and zeal in the preparation of the testimony 
in the Tahoe Commons suit above referred to. He corresponded for nearly 
two years with his Congressman and the Interior Department of the gov- 
ernment at Washington. The files were being sorted and refiled from an 
old building into a new one. and it took a long time to get the Tahoe City 
map of 1863. with its public ground on the lake shore, and the written 
testimony of Judge Spear in his contest for the Tahoe City townsite. with 
Lot 6 designated as the public Commons. He also wrote to officials of the 
State of New York with reference to that State's policy in the control of 
its islands in Lake George ; to the attorney general of Connecticut as t > 
that State's policy in controlling the ocean front along its south shores, 
where the rich new-comers were fencing in the old-time rights of the com- 
mon people : to commissions and attorneys of Massachusetts who were 
giving the old Commons, or ancient cow pastures, a general overhauling, 
weeding out tresspassers, and compelling railroads and street-car lines to 
take out licenses and run their lines mure in the interest and safety of the 
people, across the old Commons: to Chicago, to inquire how it was sav- 
ing the remnants of its rights after the Illinois Central Railroad got out into 
Lake .Michigan in front of those beautiful drives and residences. 

He also bought books, and read them, to find out the general policy 
of the government in laying out and caring for its public parks for the 
people. And. lastly, he improved the opportunity and borrowed a lot of 
beautiful pictures and prints showing those most beautiful lakes in Switz- 
erland and in the French. German and Italian Alps, with their special gems 
and pleasure resorts for the people of those countries. The writer hoped 
that by some line of testimony, regular or irregular, competent or incom- 



224 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

petent, the judges might wish to view the mode of caring for the beau- 
tiful lakes of foreign countries. He had little hope of a request for views, 
but he was ready with an array of lake-shore and public property views; 
and on not one view was shown such a sordid, low, unethical display of car 
tracks, barns, houses, shops, with an apparent intent to cover the whole 
ground with railroad impedimenta, as exists at Tahoe City, in Placer Coun- 
ty — and all this in front of the people who own the public grounds, dedi- 
cated to them by the State and Federal governments, which gave the lands. 

Placer County's Big Trees 

As early as 1860, or before, it was known that Placer County had some 
of the "Big Trees," Sequoia gigantea, growing in her upper mountain sec- 
tions. It is claimed that an Englishman, hunting near Last Chance, about 
1860, discovered the grove and measured the largest standing tree with the 
ramrod of his shotgun. It is also asserted that in the spring of 1862 ex- 
cessive rains made the ground very soft, and the largest tree, now called 
"Roosevelt," fell. Many of our citizens have long known of the existence 
of this grove, having seen the trees while hunting in the high mountains. 

In the year 1920, F. A. Moss, superintendent of the Blue Eyes gold 
mine, located near the trees, urged that the road leading to the trees be 
improved and reopened for a few miles, and that the road be properly 
signed in their vicinity, for the convenience of travelers and hunters going 
into the upper mountains. The Auburn Chamber of Commerce took up the 
matter, enlisting the assistance of the United States Forestry Service and of 
the county supervisor for that portion of the county. 

There was another object coupled with the desire to see our Big Trees. 
It was planned to improve the roads in that section of the county, and to 
reopen an old road from Robinson's Flat to the Lost Emigrant Mine and, 
a few miles beyond, to Soda Springs, a once famous summer resort, and 
thence to the railroad at a place called Soda Springs Station, only three 
miles west of the railroad summit of the mountains. There used to be 
a fairly good stage road from the station in to Soda Springs, a distance 
of about ten miles, and it only required the opening of an old trail or road 
through to Soda Springs from Robinson's Flat, some eight miles, to make an 
alternative route to the summit and to Donner and Lake Tahoe. There 
were many surveys through the county in early days, the object being to 
construct an overland road to Carson Valley, and to what later became 
Nevada State. 

With the ultimate, though indirect, object of improving the roads into 
the high mountains, and also to satisfy a desire to see our Big Trees, the 
Chamber of Commerce planned and made its first "pilgrimage" to the 
grove on August 14, 1920. The writer prepared a sketch of the trip for 
the press, and will quote part of it here to describe the trip. The article, 
dated August 19, 1920, was entitled "Placer's Big Trees, Located and 
Named by Forest Service and Local Committee," and appeared in the Her- 
ald, as follows : 

"The much talked-of trip to >the 'Big Trees' of Placer County was made 
last Saturday, August 14th. Mr. W. F. Durfee, President of the Auburn 
Commercial Club, with his speedy car, was at the meeting place first, at 
4 a. m., the writer next, and others lined up soon after. Mr. John Livings- 
ton, representing the Placer County Chamber of Commerce, had with him 
the main invited guest of the trip, R. F. Wilson, publicity agent and pho- 
tographer of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. R. F. Hammatt, 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNT V 225 

district forester of the Coast, was to have been one of the party, but was 
called north by a forest fire. 

"We left Auburn at 5 a. m., C. K. Turner, horticultural commissioner 
of Placer County, driving his car with W. M. Jones, secretary of the club, 
and lots of good eatables on board. W. W. Black drove the car with J. 
W. Vickery and Mr. Clark in the seats. 

"The party ate breakfast at Forest Hill. There Mr. Branstetter's party 
of three from Loomis, Cal., joined us ; also County Supervisor Langstaff, 
in whose district the trees are located. 

"The next stop was at Westville, where we met Richard L. P. Bige- 
low. of Nevada City, forest supervisor of this district, as also his Nevada 
County ranger, and C. W. Sutcliffe. of Forest Hill, district ranger of Placer 
County. The foresters took charge of the road signs brought up in the 
Durfee car. with five-foot ladder, brush and paint to be used in putting up 
the road signs. The route is now well marked with signs, others having 
been put up by the Forest Service before our trip. James Dodds went with 
us. Many thought they were well up in the mountains at this place, noted 
for its good fishing; but the real climb was ahead of us. 

"The next stop was on the narrow 'hogsback,' on top of the Sailor 
Grade — and such a grade ! most of it long and gradual ; but those short 
places of about twenty-three per cent, with short, dusty, pebbly turns, were 
bad. The forest service had horses ready to assist, but they were not 
needed. All the cars took the grades easily, except the heavily loaded 
Fords, which were aided around the curves. The Forest Department and 
county supervisors have money appropriated and an easy six-per-cent grade 
will be started this fall. [Since this trip a good six-per-cent grade has 
been made.] 

"On top of Sailor Hill one gets a grand view off to the northwest, Red 
Mountain being in full view, the Valley of the Yuba being hid by two in- 
tervening ridges. At this place all the cars and passengers were lined up 
and photographs were taken : in fact the picture business was well worked, 
our farm adviser, E. O. Amundsen, using his instrument. About twenty- 
five sets of views are promised. 

"Robinson's Flat, a fenced-in green flat, partially covered with tama- 
rack trees, was soon reached. Here were a Forest Service house, barn and 
other buildings, used as headquarters by the Forest Department. All 
the buildings had very high angled roofs, so as to shed the snow. Permis- 
sion may be granted to campers to use the enclosed flat for a reasonable 
time, on application to the Forest Department. 

"After more photographing with the United States flag to the front, we 
started south on Duncan Ridge. A short distance brought us to the road 
leading to the look-out station of the Forest Department. It is located in 
a wooden building, open on the sides. A large table, a seat, large circular 
chart, and revolving pointer, and telephone connections in all directions, 
are the simple appliances used by the watchers to detect a fire and notify 
other parties of the Forest Service. The elevation of the look-out station 
is 7170 feet above the ocean. 

"The view was exceedingly grand, but there were two other higher 
ranges and peaks to the east, some 8000 to 9000 feet high, thereby shutting 
out the view of Lake Tahoe, which is only 6225 feet in elevation. The look- 
out building is on the peak of a high cone-like mass of white granite. More 
pictures ! 

"The caravan then moved southwest down an easily sloping ridge, past 
the Glen .Mine-Blue Eyes mads t<> the left, past the Last Chance mad t>> 
the right, to a camp ground near a cold stream of water, and near where 
the 'Greek' store once stood. Cam]) was soon made and a good dinner 
quickly prepared, the main chef being James Dodds. 



226 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

"After dinner all entered their cars, drove two miles farther down the 
ridge, and then started two miles on foot to the Big Trees. Most of the 
trail was easy ; in fact, sheep-herders' wagons had followed the trail to 
within a half-mile of the trees. Signs put up by the Forest Service pointed 
the way southeast down a ridge a short distance, and then sharply to the 
right and down into a big green bowl-like depression, where we found the 
Placer County group of Sequoia Big Trees, seven standing and two fallen. 
The ground was moist with springs of water at the bottom. The ground 
was covered with ferns and hazel brush, and a large number of small dog- 
wood trees were scattered around, as also the usual pine forest trees. 

"As the Big Trees were somewhat scattered, it was decided to call 
them the Placer County Group of Big Trees — rather than grove — and yet 
they all stood pretty closely in that big, green bowl. The forest supervisor 
took charge of the measurements. There were no instruments along to de- 
termine the height of the trees, and the ground was too rough and cov- 
ered with brush to use the more common method of measuring off on the 
level till we could sight at the top at a forty-five-degree angle. The largest 
standing tree had been burned at the base on the south side, but was other- 
wise shapely, tall and straight, and measured ten feet in diameter. The 
next largest was nine feet through ; the next, eight feet ; and the others, 
smaller. The largest fallen tree was sixteen feet in diameter, the thick 
bark having been burned off. As a rule these big trees do not burn readily. 
More pictures ! We lined up along the top of the fallen giant and were 
then taken in groups of ten, hands touching, to be put together in one long 
picture. 

"Signs with the names Pershing, Joffre and Haig had been prepared, 
and the party approved the names. The forest supervisor took charge and 
appointed a committee of five. The committee consulted and reported the 
names selected, and the whole party voted in the final naming of the trees. 
The largest standing tree was named Pershing; next in size, Joffre; and 
the next in size Haig. The whole party, on motion and by unanimous 
vote, named the largest fallen giant Theodore Roosevelt. Another mo- 
tion was carried, that the next largest tree after the one called Haig should 
be named Lardner. 

"The elevation above the ocean where the trees stand was given as 
5500 feet. 

"The evidence was there before us — the cones were on the ground, also 
scattered twigs. 'A Handbook of the Trees of California,' by Alice East- 
wood, was with us, and we botanized at page 20: 'Sequoia. Redwood. 
Big Trees. Plate VI : S. gigantea Decaisne. Big Tree — cones as large 
as an egg. Short, oblong, ripening in two seasons. Leaves appressed at 
base, rigid and pointed. This tree is famous for its great size and long life, 
many having lived more than a thousand years. In the Sierra Nevada from 
Amador to Tulare Counties, growing with the white fir and sugar pines.' 
The general description says 'Immense trees with enormous trunks clothed 
with thick red fibrous bark. Wood red.' Our trees tallied with these 
premises, and we were not in doubt that before us stood a small, young 
grove or group of Sequoia gigantea. 

"According to the Government Forest Service Map. the trees are lo- 
cated in Section 19, Township 13 N., Range 13 E., Mount Diablo Base 
and Meridian. They are ten miles due east from Michigan Bluff — about 
fourteen miles by trail — about six miles in a straight line southeast from 
Last Chance, and about eight miles southwest from Robinson's Flat. 

"We then returned to our cars and back to camp, and soon supper was 
ready. And such a supper ! — yes, we were hungry. We had apples, peaches, 
plums and watermelon for dessert, the latter cooled in that ice-cold run- 
ning- water. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 227 

"After supper, and around a big camp fire, story-telling, good singing, 
and speech-making were the entertaining features till ten o'clock. Twenty- 
seven ate supper, including the superintendent of the Blue Eyes Gold 
Aline, F. A. Moss, his wife and two other ladies from the near-by mine. 
After the visitors withdrew, beds were made under the cedar trees by some ; 
but most of the party sought the soft ground, heads to a big log, with feet 
towards the camp-fire. Blankets and quilts were there for all. A practical 
lesson was given us by Supervisor Bigelow and his rangers on how to pre- 
pare, use and put out a mountain camp-fire. 

"Sunday morning we had a fine breakfast — half a cantaloupe for each, 
bacon and eggs, etc., and finishing with flap-jacks, butter and maple syrup. 

"Most of the party went down to the Blue Eyes mine and had a fine 
dinner; some helped at a clean-up, and got sizable specimens as souve- 
nirs. A few tried fishing. Several rifles were brought out; but a previous 
hint from the forest officers the day before, that they were then in the 
'game refuge,' prevented hunting till they had gone about three miles 
northerly and out of the refuge limits. 

"The Durfee car and passengers went down a ridge westerly about 
six miles to Last Chance, before starting home. We there met our old 
Friend Dave Ray. with his horses saddled and a mule packed ready to 
start into the timber for a week's stay. Mining is cmiet. The old town is 
asleep, but Last Chance seems to be on the main aviation lane from Sacra- 
mento to Reno. The whole population, five or six, go out and see the ships 
go by towards Reno on the south side of the town, and return to Sacra- 
mento by the main northern route. 

"The Forest Service party also drove to Last Chance, and were in- 
formed by Mr. Ray where another ten-foot S. gigantea could be found. In 
fact many botanists are mistaken as to the locus ; 'from Amador to Tulare 
Counties' should be widened out to 'from Placer to Tulare Counties.' No 
doubt the Big Trees will be found much farther north and south in Cali- 
fornia then heretofore admitted. 

"The route to the Big Trees is generally an easy grade, and a good 
road, and follows a succession of ridges all the way, the Forest Hill ridge, 
the Secret, Sailor, and down the Duncan ridge, being the main ones. The 
route resembles a fishhook, the Big Trees being northeasterly from Au- 
burn, and about sixty miles by the road. In early clays the legislature 
passed an act for a toll-road following these ridges to Lake Tahoe. At 
the present time the road is unfinished between Robinson's Flat and the 
Emigrant Mine, and Soda Springs road, a distance of about six or eight 
miles, a fair trail, now spans the gap. The citizens of the divide hope 
this connecting road will soon be finished. Our party no doubt camped 
near where Allen Grosh hid his assays for silver from the mines now known 
as the Comstock mines of Nevada. 

"For lack of space, we will not dwell on the wonderful forests of pine 
used for lumber. There are millions of feet in standing timber in the val- 
leys and on the mountain-sides and ridges, trees large, tall and straight. 
The ground is generally covered with small pines, firs, cedars and spruces. 
Our government is making a determined effort to preserve these forests 
for future generations. The cone-bearing trees seemed to have a full crop; 
most of the cones stood upright at the ends of the limbs. It was easy to 
distinguish the sugar-pines by their cones — the largest in the forests often 
being twelve inches long. They were pendant from the tip ends of the 
limbs. It was a pretty sight to see them swaying in the wind. Nature exudes 
a resinous pitch or sort of varnish which covers the cones. The early 
morning or evening sun shining on them made them glint like icicles, even 
if it was the middle of August. Without a doubt, it was down this ridge 



228 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

(Duncan) that Fremont traveled in December, 1845. [See Chapter IV, 
John C. Fremont.] 

"Our party came home leisurely on Sunday. Many red-shirted hunt- 
ers were met going into the high mountains, the deer law becoming oper- 
ative on August 15th. Dr. Russell, of Auburn, brought out one buck. 

"As we neared the junction of the two branches of the American River, 
North and Middle Forks, we found some forty or fifty bathers enjoying 
the clear waters of the two rivers, some of the cars coming from Sacra- 
mento. At the upper pool there were eight cars ; at the steel bridge, three ; 
at the suspension wire bridge, five ; and one car near the cement railroad 
bridge. Regulation bathing suits are used, and in many cases papa, mamma, 
and the whole family of children are enjoying themselves. 

"And thus ended a very enjoyable and profitable trip to the high moun- 
tains of Placer County. The 'Big Trees' are there on the map, as they 
have been on the United States Forestry maps heretofore. They are the 
genuine Sequoia gigantea. The Tahoe National Forest officers pioneered 
our way. Their kindness made our trip a success." 



CHAPTER XII 

FRUIT-GROWING AND FRUIT-SHIPPING 

CITRUS FRUITS IN .PLACER COUNTY 

From the time of the earliest settlements in Placer County, the orange 
and lemon have been planted here in favored localities, called the Citrus 
Belt, which averages about twenty miles wide along the foothills, or, say, 
from Roseville to Clipper Gap, along the railroad. Oranges have matured 
along the warm American River banks and bars nearly as far up as Michi- 
gan Bluff, the river being about 1000 feet below the town ; and they will 
also ripen on the American and Bear River bottoms below the town of 
Colfax. The warm river banks and the foothill sections, up to about 1500 
feet, would be a safe limit for the Placer County Citrus Belt. 

The Citrus Fair of 1886 

In the month of December, 1886, Sacramento City conducted a citrus 
fair for the northern part of the State. It was an experiment. Placer 
County citizens were aware that the fruits on their own orange and lemon 
trees were ripening, but the quantities and varieties were not yet known. 
Our older citizens had been winning first prizes on deciduous fruits, pre- 
serves and jellies in our State for many years. The writer recently found 
in a bound volume of an old Placer County newspaper a diploma from the 
State Agricultural Society awarding first premium to Mrs. J. R. Crandall 
for the best specimens of dried fruits at the annual fair in Sacramento in 
1859. Citizens made an extra effort. Oranges and lemons were gathered 
from the front and back yards around the houses, and from the gardens 
and orchards. The grand aggregate exhibited at Sacramento suprised our 
own people as well as those of competing counties. Placer County won 
first prize. The county had the same year won the first prize for county 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 229 

exhibits at the State Fair. There was one general expression voiced by 
manv in viewing- the exhibts : "Placer County beats them all." 

To give an idea of the exhibitors represented and the variety of fruits 
and other products exhibited, the writer quotes from a column of the Pla- 
cer Herald of December 18, 1886, as follows : 

"C. T. Adams, Newcastle, almonds, oranges, clusters of oranges ; Avery 
& Berry, oranges ; P. W. Butler, Penryn, olives, boxes and branches — very 
fine; Wm. Ambrose, Auburn, oranges; J. W. Blanchard, Penryn, almonds, 
oranges and lemons ; G. W. Bond, Newcastle, cotton ; E. Booth, Rose- 
ville, figs, prunes, raisins ; M. Bauman, Ophir, oranges ; H. E. Parker, Pen- 
ryn, oranges, tomatoes, squash. It is worth while to mention here that 
Mr. Parker exhibits a small box of very fine oranges gathered from a tree 
that was set out from the nursery a year ago last May, or about eighteen 
months. L. L. Crocker, Rocklin, quinces, oranges and dried figs ; Mrs. 
J. R. Crandall. Auburn, almonds, white and black figs, oranges — the latter 
are from a tree thirty-three years old, one of the first ever set out in the 
county. 

"E. AY Culver, Newcastle, fresh grapes and fresh peppers on bush ; J. 
F. Curts, Ophir, oranges; W. M. Crutcher, Auburn, Japanese persim- 
mons, oranges and olives ; A. Freitas, Newcastle, 5000 oranges in varieties, 
and lemons — a superb display. 

"Dr. J. M. Frey, Newcastle, thirty clusters of oranges, six to fifty 
in a cluster; oranges in box, including several best varieties; lemons, 
olives, olive oil and olives pickled ; four varieties almonds, four varieties 
walnuts : chestnuts, quinces, prunes, plums, and tomatoes. 

"W. M. Foster, Mt. Pleasant, exhibit of raisins, Five Crown Royal De- 
hesa — very superior ; L. C. Gould, Auburn olives, four varieties, Japanese 
tea plant, tea seed and Japanese persimmons ; H. B. Gaylord, Auburn, box 
egg tomatoes, peach tree, six months old from seed, six feet high ; Hall Bros. 
Penryn, lemons and oranges ; Ben Hawkins, Ophir, oranges ; Geo. D. Kel- 
logg, Newcastle, oranges, persimmons and cotton. 

"W. B. Lardner, Auburn, almonds and large floral display ; Orange 
Company, Auburn, tree bearing oranges, set in orchard last April ; sample 
of soil : tomatoes in bloom. A. Mover, Newcastle, oranges, nine vari- 
eties ; P. Norburg, Penryn, 1450 oranges and lemons, forty varieties ; C. 
M. Silva & Son, Newcastle, thirty-six different entries, including seven- 
teen varieties oranges ; all varieties nuts, lemons, besides tomatoes and 
vegetables — a very superior display. W. J. Wilson & Son, Newcastle, ten 
varieties oranges, figs, cotton in ball and bush, new potatoes planted in 
September, green peas and peas in bloom, tomatoes and tomatoes in blos- 
som, turnips, onions, apples, quinces, pomegranates and lettuce. Very at- 
tractive exhibit. There were five exhibits of mountain apples." 

The writer refrains from giving the full list of exhibitors. There were 
many more fine exhibits of oranges and lemons, but enough have been 
mentioned to show that in 1886, without any concerted action, the orange 
and lemon were freely planted in our citrus belt. In fact, at that time it 
was claimed that Placer County was the third or fourth in growing citrus 
trees in the State. 

Turning to the Placer Herald of December 25, 1886, in a three-column 
article giving the results of the Sacramento Fair, we find the results of the 
fair, about twenty counties contesting, briefly given in the headlines: 
"Semi-Tropical Placer. The County That Beats all Competitors at the 
Citrus Fair. Placer Wins the Diploma for best County Exhibit. The 
First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Prizes on < (ranges are awarded to 



230 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

the Eden of the Foothills. The far-famed Royal Dehesa Raisins Excelled 
by Placer Product." 

Placer County's winning exhibit was sent to Chicago in a few days 
and was exhibited there. 

Pioneer Citrus Orchardists 

With this encouragement, the Placer County citrus fruit men began 
to plant oranges, lemons, limes, pomelos, and other semi-tropical fruit trees 
in earnest, at Auburn, Newcastle, Penryn, Loomis and Ophir, and in the 
surrounding sections ; as did also J. Parker Whitney, over in the rolling 
foothills northwest of Rocklin. The foothills northeast of Lincoln all were 
favorite locations for citrus planting; and the warm foothills along the 
American River were also favored sites for orange orchards. 

A company had been formed at the county seat, called the "Auburn 
Orange Association," the members being O. W. Hollenbeck, T. J. Nicholls, 
A. F. Boardman, J. A. Filcher, A. Huntley, W. B. Lardner, J. H. Wills, 
O. C. Morgan, F. C. Morgan, and S. E. Morgan. Ninety acres were pur- 
chased below Auburn, on the rolling hills above the American River, in 
the Monte Rio district. The navel variety was most generally planted. 
The second season the company had about 1900 orange trees growing, and 
also a goodly number of lemon trees. The third season the trees began 
bearing. The company persevered in its venture till the orchard began 
bearing so that shipments could be made in carload lots. 

Kirk, Geary & Company had a fine orange orchard near by, as did also 
many others. 

The pioneer effort accomplished what its promoters hoped for, demon- 
strating that citrus fruits could be raised in carload lots in a warm belt in 
the low foothill sections of the county, called the "Citrus Belt" ; and the 
further fact was demonstrated, and taken advantage of by our wise orange- 
growers, that by reason of the absence of cold ocean fogs, the warm, dry 
summer months of this section, and an assured abundance of irrigating 
water, good oranges could be raised, well-colored and ready for the market, 
from four to six weeks earlier than by our competitors in the southern 
part of the State. So it is quite the usual thing to furnish the local markets 
with good navel oranges for the Christmas holiday season from the warm 
foothills of Placer County. An examination of the numerous fruit-houses 
and orange-groves of the warm belt in the month of December will show 
ripe oranges ready for shipment. 

Placer County Citrus Fair in Los Angeles 

The fruit-growers of Placer County are not noted for undue boasting ; 
but when the direct challenge is waved in their faces, they generally accept 
and prove their claims. About the most impudent thing ever done in 
California was put over by a Placer County committee in 1887, when they 
held a two-weeks citrus fair in Los Angeles, including Christmas week. 
It came about as follows : 

A former citizen of Newcastle, Placer County, moved to Los Angeles 
shortly before that time. He had seen fine oranges and lemons grow and 
ripen in Placer County. The newspaper chaff about wrapp'ing Placer 
County orange trees in blankets, having stoves in their orchards, etc., he 
could stand, but his loyalty to his old county could not stand for certain 
real-estate-office tactics, forced on him by a prominent land-booming office 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 231 

on Spring Street, Los Angeles. Our ex-Placer County man had just received 
from his old friend, George D. Kellogg, of Newcastle, a box of fine Newcastle 
oranges. In the box was a small limb having six or eight fine, yellow, 
fully grown oranges. The recipient of the fruit, in a spirit of loyalty to old 
Placer, gave the bough, with its hanging oranges, to the above-mentioned 
real-estate office. His disgust can be imagined when, passing the same office 
later in the day, he found the following display and announcement above 
the fine limb of Newcastle oranges : "This is a sample of Southern citrus 
fruit," and above a few small, rusty, scaly, half-colored culls were the words : 
"And this is a sample of Northern citrus fruit." The deception was so 
brazen and false that Mr. Kellogg soon received a letter describing the 
mendacity. 

It so happened that a convention of orchardists and water-users was 
being held in Auburn about the middle of December, 1887 ; and during its 
sessions George D. Kellogg read the former Newcastle man's letter. 
Thereupon J. Parker Whitney immediately moved that an orange exhibit 
from Placer County be sent to Los Angeles during Christmas week, and 
offered to draw his check for the balance needed to make up a fund of 
$1000 for the purpose. About $500 was immediately raised, and the Whit- 
ney check was added. J. J. Morrison, of Loomis, was appointed a commit- 
teeman to go direct to Los Angeles and procure a suitable hall for the 
exhibit. It so happened that the most available space was the front of a 
large, unfinished store building on Spring Street, across the street from 
the offending real-estate office. The front end of the large store was rented 
and immediately fitted up with shelves and bins. Electric lights were 
installed ; suitable tables for literature were placed. There was no roof on 
the unfinished building. 

A half-carload of oranges, lemons, olives, and olive oil soon arrived ; 
also a few boxes of choice mountain apples and a small table loaded with 
oranges and lemons from Nevada County were in the exhibit. The extra 
space in the car was filled with the red Christmas (Toyon) berries of the 
foothills for decoration purposes. 

A brass band was in attendance to call in the passing crowds. A 
rough sketch of Placer County was painted on a canvas, 10 by 15 feet in 
size, showing the county, with the Southern Pacific Railroad from Sacra- 
mento over the summit, with increasing elevations, and also the outline of 
Lake Tahoe. At every locality where it was known that oranges grew and 
ripened, a big, round, orange-colored spot was placed. 

There were lectures every evening. The official temperature of Los 
Angeles was posted up daily, and the telegraphic messages from Auburn, 
over 300 miles north, giving the thermometric readings there, were also 
posted; and luckily for the invaders, the northern temperatures were gen- 
rally the warmer. Oh, it was impudence personified! With one exception, 
the notices in the larger newspapers were from five to eight lines in length, 
and all paid for, and followed by a star. 

The apparent impudence of the exhibit staggered the nurserymen wh > 
had been selling us orange trees for planting, never expecting to hear of 
them again, except that they had been frozen under a covering of snow and 
ice. The real-estate offices accused the committee of every offense in the 
decalogue, the mildest being that we were buying our oranges in Azusa and 
other outlying orchards and carrying them in during the night-time. The 
offending real-estate men across the street, who by their mendacity had 



232 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

brought the exhibit into Los Angeles, no doubt enjoyed their raw work 
greatly. 

The exhibit was run for two weeks ; then the fruit was given to the 
city hospitals, and the committee of ten came home. 

The writer mentioned that there was one exception among the Los 
Angeles newspapers in the matter of reporting the citrus fair without a 
paid-for notice with a star. This was the Los Angeles Sun. AYith nearly 
a column, it gave full and honest praise to the exhibit, under the heading: 
"Placer County. Its Splendid Citrus Exhibit in the New Phillips Block 
on Spring Street. A Wonderful Fruit Region." The notice follows, in part: 

"That Placer County is one of the richest fruit regions in the great 
State of California, is well known to the inhabitants of that wonderfully 
productive county. By new-comers who have recently crossed the Sierras, 
this knowledge must be acquired. For the information of the home-seeker, 
the visitor, and the public generally, a collection of some of the fruits and 
products of the county has been made by some of its leading citizens, and 
has been placed on exhibition in this city under the auspices of the Placer 
County Board of Trade, of Auburn ; and P. W. Butler of that county has 
the management of the exhibit, and is assisted by J. J. Morrison, E. W. 
Maslin, YY. B. Lardner, J. F. Madden and R. Jones. A better location for 
the exhibit, or a more tasty arrangement of the fruits, could not well have 
been made. Some idea of the extent and beauty of the exhibit can be had 
when the Sun informs its readers that there are 25,000 oranges in the dis- 
play. There are many kinds of fruit on exhibition well worth the time 
to stop and see. Placer County is the natural home of the orange, lemon, 
grape, fig and olive. As a health resort it is unexcelled." 

The Citrus Fair at Auburn in 1892 

About the years 1890 to 1892 the State was aiding citrus culture to the 
extent of $5000 annually — one-half for exhibits held in the South, and the 
same amount for fairs held in the Northern part of the State. The follow- 
ing places held citrus fairs in the North: Oroville, Marysville, and Auburn. 

The Auburn Opera House was about finished, ready for seating. The 
theater proper afforded a large space. The stage was 40 by 55 feet. A 
large pavilion, with sliding doors, off the stage, quadrupled the stage space. 
An upper gallery above the stage added more space ; and with ample rooms 
and offices in the building, the entire structure made an ideal exhibit place. 

The management conducted a daily paper, called the "Northern Citrus 
Journal." A special passenger train was run from Sacramento each morning. 
A visitors' register was kept. The Northern Citrus Journal starts with Mon- 
day, January 11, 1892. Among the news items regarding the fair the follow- 
ing selections are made : 

"Mrs. Robinson, of the Olivia Farm, placed a handsome exhibit in 
position yesterday. It is exclusively an olive display, and occupies a place 
near the main entrance. Mrs. Robinson exhibits five varieties of unusually 
fine oil, twelve varieties of growing olives, and two varieties of pickled 



s 



olives. The olives from which the oil exhibited was made were picked 
since Christmas." 

"Mrs. J. H. Crandall planted the first orange tree in Placer County, 
and bought the first ticket to the first Citrus Fair in Placer, the pres- 
ent one." 

"Editor's Notes: The San Francisco press representatives pronounce 
the display as fine as ever made. The Washington Navels, exhibited by 
Correa, of Placer, and Wyer, of Yolo, are especially attractive. The decorat- 
ing committee have shown excellent taste and skill. Placer's exhibit at 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 233 

Marysville last year was 8000 oranges; this year it is 24,000. Wednesday 
will be an eventful day in the history of Auburn. The National Press 
Association, on their way to San Francisco, will stop off for a few hours 
as our guests, and after partaking of a specially prepared breakfast at the 
Putnam House and Freeman Hotel, will visit the fair. Every effort should 
be made to entertain them royally — as royally as our little city can." 

"The crowning event of today (January 13) was the arrival of the 
Press Club. The train from the East bearing the distinguished journalists 
reached the depot at 7:30 this morning, and the travelers were received 
by the reception committee, who did nobly as entertainers. After a gen- 
eral hand-shaking, the party, numbering about 150, adjourned to the Put- 
nam House for breakfast (also the Freeman Hotel). The dining-room was 
decorated with evergreens and other trimmings for the occasion, and the 
Club sat down to a sumptuous breakfast. After breakfast the visitors were 
conveyed to the Pavilion to witness the exhibit. 

"Among the most prominent were Miss Kate Field, of Washington, 
D. C, (MrsJ Frank Leslie, M. H. DeYoung, William Wilde, T. J. Keenan. 
Jr., president of the League, and Charles N. Price, the secretary. Miss 
Field and (Mrs.) Frank Leslie made very neat addresses as the party bade 
farewell, and expressed themselves in the highest terms of praise for the 
reception they had received and the wonderful things they had seen, and 
only regretted that their visit was so brief. 

"The visit of the Press Club was a golden opportunity which was not 
lost sight of by our citizens, and the result of this reception will be noted 
in years to come, as no better chance could have been offered to make 
known the wonderful possibilities of Placer County." 

A member of the Press Club stated that snow covered the ground 
when the}- left Chicago, and that they had not seen the bare ground during 
their trip, except in cities and stopping-places, till their train reached Colfax, 
shortly before getting off at Auburn and the Citrus Fair. 

It might be mentioned in conclusion that no more State aid was granted 
for State citrus fairs, but the annual citrus fairs are as popular as ever in 
our adojining foothill counties and neighboring cities. 

DECIDUOUS FRUITS IN PLACER COUNTY 
Newcastle as a Fruit-Packing and Fruit-Shipping Center 

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, 126 miles 
northeast of San Francisco and thirty-one miles east of Sacramento, on the 
main line of the Southern Pacific, 970 feet above sea level, with a most 
delightful climate, is Newcastle, the biggest little city, from a deciduous 
point of view, in California. 

Back in the remote days of 1868, an old pioneer, C. M. Silva, com- 
menced the cultivation of a few fruit trees and strawberry vines, fruit 
from which he successfully marketed and sold in close-by Nevada towns. 

Three years prior, in 1865, \Y J. Wilson, another pioneer, located in 
Newcastle, coming from Secret Ravine, near Stewart's Flat, a little mining 
town a mile or two north of the properties now owned by J. J. Brennan. 
Having become the possessor of a modest home and an acre of ground on 
which strawberries, some raspberries and a few peach and pear trees were 
grown, he had a vision of the possibility of distribution and sale of products 
from these trees and vines that was the dominant influence in creating the 
after-expansion and success of a shipping business that has endured for 
over a half-century. The credit of loading the first full car of fruit from 
Newcastle is Mr. Wilson's, it having been sold to a Mrs. Astretta, of 



234 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Denver, who came to Newcastle to examine (inspect was an unknown 
word in those days) and supervise the shipment. It consisted of apples, 
peaches, some pears and a few plums, all being loaded in a common box- 
car with end and side iron gratings for ventilation. 

As a matter of interest, it may be stated that during 1889, and for 
almost ten years later, shipments of deciduous fruit by W. J. Wilson & Son, 
through Wells, Fargo & Company, were admitted to be the largest made 
by any firm or shipper in California. This is not generally known, particu- 
larly to the present generation ; but the proof is evidenced by a letter 
written October 26, 1889, to Wilson & Son by S. D. Barstow, then superin- 
tendent of Wells, Fargo & Company, in which such a statement is made. 

Some of the other old-timers — picturesque and sturdy characters who 
helped pioneer the way in Newcastle for the success of others — were Jimmy 
Smith, William Greeley, George D. Kellogg, Ralph Bowles and John H. 
Mitchell, all of whom have passed on. 

Present-day shippers may not know that as far back as 1876 the total 
shipments of fruit from Newcastle amounted to over 1,000,000 pounds. 
True, this is less than forty cars, based on a minimum of 26,000 pounds ; 
but it is, nevertheless, an indication of the recognized importance of fruit- 
growing and fruit-shipping even in that early period. 

Following C. M. Silva and W. J. Wilson, the two early pioneer grow- 
ers and shippers, came the Newcastle Fruit Growers' Shipping & Preserving 
Association, established about 1878, members of which were local residents, 
C. T. Adams being president, Ed W. Culver, secretary, and Ed B. Silva, 
manager. Later, Geo. D. Kellogg; the Cooperative Fruit Company, owned 
by Adolph, August and Martin Schnabel, with Fred Mason as manager; 
Porter Bros. Company ; and the Earl Fruit Company became factors in 
Newcastle shipping circles, which served to stimulate the industry to such 
an extent that Middle West and Eastern carlot shipments were greatly 
increased. 

In 1885, Newcastle, considering it had made a record, announced with 
pardonable pride in the Placer Herald, during November of that year, that 
115 full carloads of fruit had been sent East. That covered the entire season 
of 1885 from all sources — a tonnage that would be regarded as small by 
any one of the shipping houses of today. 

For the next three years, volume increase was not rapid ; but in 1889, 
from January to October 31, there were sent out a total of 5,899,563 pounds, 
classified as follows : 176 full carloads, 3,872,000 lbs. ; fruit in small lots by 
freight, 1,337,414 lbs.; by express, 690,149 lbs.; total, 5,899,563 lbs. 

During 1890, from January to October 31, there was a noticeable in- 
crease, full carloads going up to 271 ; express more than doubled but LCL 
(less car lots) quantities, by local freight, showed a slight decrease, full 
classification being as follows : 271 full carloads, 5,962,000 lbs. ; fruit LCL 
by freight, 1,231,720 lbs.; by express, 1,489,487 lbs.; total, 8,683,207 lbs. 

Coming to 1891, we find rapid strides were made, 399 full cars being 
loaded for Eastern shipment, and about 3,000,000 pounds in small quanti- 
ties by freight and express, classified in the old days as miscellaneous, the 
year's grand total being over 12,000,000 pounds. 

Increase continued the following year, 1892 showing marked improve- 
ment in full carloads and local freight shipments, as indicated by the fol- 
lowing: 451 carloads, 10,825,000 lbs.; LCL by freight, 2,102,865 lbs.; by 
express, 1,205,278 lbs.; total, 14,133,143 lbs. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 235 

The season of 1893 showed another steady increase, 526 full cars being 
loaded for various Eastern destinations, which did not include less than car- 
lot quantities by freight and fruit by express, totaling about 3,000,000 
pounds additional. 

For the next fifteen years, growth was gradual, development being 
along conservative lines, until the opening of 1908, when activity in shipping 
became unusual. The yield was considered unprecedented, due to enlarged 
orchards and satisfactory prices. Total shipments were: Full carloads, 
1755; by express, 100; total. 1855. 

The rapid expansion of the fruit-shipping industry in the Newcastle 
district, and the reason for its splendid reputation as a producer and packer 
of fancy mountain-grown fruit, now known in every State in America, can 
be to some extent understood from the tabulation covering the seven years 
from 1917 to 1923, as follows: 1917, full car lots, 1683; 1918, full car' lots, 
1922; 1919, full car lots, 1715: 1920, full car lots, 1748; 1921, full car lots, 
1821; 1922, full car lots, 2042; 1923, full car lots, 2547. This does not 
include fruit by express, which would average approximately 100 cars for 
each season in addition to the above. 

During the week ending July 31, 1923, there were sent out from New- 
castle 327 full cars, or an average of about fifty-five cars daily, from Monday 
until Saturday. As almost all were loaded in excess of 26,000 pounds, the 
minimum, the total, under normal conditions, would have been considerably 
more than the average named. 

Out of Placer County, during 1923, there were loaded and sent East on 
their long journey, the phenomenal total of 5830 cars, the various stations 
from which they originated, and the shipment from each, being as follows : 
Newcastle, 2547 cars: Loomis, 1368 cars; Penryn, 636 cars; Roseville, 605 
cars; Auburn. 431 cars; Lincoln, 126 cars; Colfax, 116 cars; Applegate, 
1 car. 

The organizations handling the immense quantities of boxed and crated 
fruit from Newcastle at the present time include the Pioneer Fruit Com- 
pany, C. E. Yirden, Earl Fruit Company, Newcastle Fruit Growers' Asso- 
ciation, Newcastle Fruit Company, W. J. Wilson & Son, Inc., Placer County 
Mountain Fruit Company, Silva-Bergtholdt Company, United Fruit Com- 
pany of California, and F. W. Barkhaus & Son. 

In concluding this brief and incomplete review of the Newcastle fruit- 
shipping industry, its early inception and wonderful later development, 
reference should be made to an opinion expressed in 1902 by a California 
fruit-shipper, who at that time believed the industry to be confronted by 
grave future possibilities that threatened disaster. "During 1901," said he, 
"shipments of deciduous fruits to Eastern markets from California aggre- 
gated 5700 carloads. This year [1902| we are faced with the prospect of 
8000 or 10.000 cars; and unless we can secure some concerted action in 
marketing, the season is likely to prove ruinous." As Placer County alone 
got out 5838 cars (minimum 26,000 pounds) in 1923, we can now view with 
amused tolerance a presumed calamitous situation existing twenty-two 
years ago, showing a record of 5700 cars (24.000 pounds minimum) from all 
California in 1901, and the gloomy foreboding of possible disaster in han- 
dling 8000 to 10,000 cars during 1902. 



236 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

A Concession That Aided the Fruit-Grower in Placer County 

In the Placer Herald of December 18, 1886, we find an article copied 
from the Sacramento Bee which states the happy news that a fifty-per-cent 
cut was agreed to on fruit rates. David Lubin had been appointed one of a 
committee to confer with railroad representatives in regard to freight rates, 
and the following dispatch was received in Sacramento : 

"New York, December 10, 1886. Boom for Northern and Central Cali- 
fornia now in order. 

"Mr. Kimble, General Manager of Union Pacific Railroad, agrees to 
pro-rate on fruit-transportation on any terms agreeable to Southern or 
Central Pacific Company. 

"D. O. Mills kindly assisted me in obtaining concessions from the rail- 
road company. He has just returned from an interview with Mr. Hunt- 
ington. Mr. Mills tells me that Mr. Huntington favors the three-hundred- 
dollar rate to Chicago and four-hundred-dollar rate to New York, fast time, 
ten-car trains. Mr. Huntington says that arrangements can be made on 
that basis with Mr. Towne and Mr. Stubbs at San Francisco. 

"David Lubin." 

The meaning of this reduction was that a ten-car train, instead of 
fifteen, fast time, would now be run to New York for $400 per car, instead 
of $800, and to Chicago for $300 per car, instead of $600, the former rates. 
Old rates were thus cut in half, with one-third less cars in trains. 

THE OLIVE IN PLACER COUNTY 

Climatic and soil conditions in the foothill sections of Placer County 
are particularly adapted to olive culture, but the acreage planted in this 
county has not materially increased in the past twenty years. While both 
the tree "and the fruit do well, the growing of the deciduous fruits in this 
section has proved more profitable. The olives grown in Placer County 
are not excelled, however, either for pickling fruit or for the quality of the 
olive oil produced. 

Pioneer Olive Planters 

The first planting of olive trees in Placer County started in the late 
eighties and covered a period from 1885 to 1890. This was the active plant- 
ing period, and followed shortly after the activity of Elwood Cooper in 
Southern California, who is considered by many to be the father of the 
modern olive industry in California. 

In Placer County, Frederick Birdsal] and Charles Reed were prominent 
early planters ; and Mrs. Emily Robeson and a German, F. Claus, followed 
shortly after, with extensive plantings. 

While the Mission variety — scions of the trees successfully introduced, 
planted and propagated by the padres around the early California mis- 
sions — was planted to some extent in this section, an effort was made by 
some of these pioneer planters of the olive in this county to select what 
they hoped might prove to be more suitable varieties. With the first plant- 
ings, the olive oil was the only consideration, as to both quantity of yield, 
and quality. In a few years, however, the picking of ripe olives began to 
be of more importance, and then there was a corresponding change in 
the character of the olive produced. 

An Unfortunate Start 

The olive industry had an unfortunate set-back in the foothill sections 
when the first orchards were started. Mr. B. B. Redding, a prominent 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 237 

railroad man in early days and an enthusiast on olive culture, sent to 
France at his own expense and purchased a large consignment of young 
olive trees for planting in California. They were guaranteed as the best 
variety of'Pickolene grafted trees; but unfortunately, in coming over the 
mountains they were frozen down below the grafts. The roots, however, 
were alive. Mr. Redding distributed them among the nurserymen, hoping 
to grow new tops. The roots grew fine tops, and in a few years what were 
supposed to be Pickolene olive trees were planted throughout the foothills 
by the thousands. When the trees came into bearing several years later, 
thev were still called Pickolene olive trees, but the fruit was small and 
unprofitable to handle. They were unfit for pickling, but made choice olive 
oil. Mr. Birdsall won most of his gold medals and highest awards with 
oil made from the B. B. Redding trees. His first prizes from 1903 to 1911 
are as follows: Highest awards and gold medals, National Irrigation Con- 
gress, Ogden, Utah, 1903; Centennial Exposition, St. Louis, Mo., 1904; 
California State Fair, Sacramento, 1905 ; Lewis & Clark Exposition, Port- 
land, Ore., 1905; Placer County Fair, Rocklin, 1906; A. Y. P. Exposition, 
Seattle, Wash., 1909; and California State Fair, Sacramento, 1911. 

A suit in our superior court brought out the facts about the B. B. Red- 
ding olive trees having been frozen down below the grafts. The State 
University had gathered the facts and published them in pamphlet form ; 
and a maker of pickled olives refused to accept and pay for a lot of the 
small seedling olives sold to him for the true Pickolene. 

The olive-growers who had been misled into planting these seedling 
olive trees now began grafting into strong, vigorous seedling roots the 
scions of larger and better pickling varieties. 

Present Status and Outlook of the Industry 

In the meantime the Mission and other Spanish varieties have been 
producing well, and the olive industry is now one of our well-established 
factors of wealth. The tree is hardy and attains a great age. In the vicinity 
of Auburn the olive orchards planted in the early days are producing well, 
such as that of Colonel Davis, the Hughes orchard, Aeolia Heights, the 
Claus place, and the Reed Ranch. 

It takes a specially planned railway car in which to ship our choice 
olives for pickling purposes, as bruising must he avoided in transportation 
as much as possible. One of the best modes is to supply the car with large 
wood or metal tanks partly filled with water, in which the olive will receive 
the minimum of bruising. 

The olive is a fine tree for planting next to the roadside, and counting 
the solid orchards and the trees planted for ornamental purposes, Placer 
County has a large acreage in olive trees. 

While the olive in Placer County has not assumed the position in com- 
mercial horticulture to which its many excellent qualities would entitle it. 
it will always have not only a real commercial value, hut a sentimental 
claim that will bring it respect and admiration. Long-lived and ever green. 
shapely and attractive, chosen by Minerva and worshipped by the ancients, 
coming down to us through ages from Noah to the present day. with a 
history replete in sentiment and usefulness, the olive may some day attain 
its deserved supremacy here on our western slope of the Pacific. 



238 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 



CHAPTER XIII 

CRIMINAL RECORD OF PLACER COUNTY 

Justice in the Early Days 

Several years ago, while acting as secretary of the Placer County His- 
torical Society, the writer communicated with E. B. Holladay, Esq., of San 
Francisco, asking if he had his father's docket or any books which would be 
instructive as showing how his father, S. W. Holladay, alcalde or local judge 
at Auburn in early days, conducted his office and legal business. Mr. Holla- 
day answered, saying he did not have any records or books used by his 
father as alcalde, but that he had a long account of what was supposed to 
be the first official and orderly conducted criminal trial in Auburn, or, as 
the correspondent called the place, "these dry diggings." Who wrote the 
article is not known, but there is a persistent belief that it was a versatile 
young miner who wrote as a correspondent for a Baltimore newspaper. 

The Gwynn store mentioned, where the trial took place, was owned and 
conducted by William Gwynn, the father of B. F. Gwynn, for many years the 
local justice of the peace at Auburn. Judge B. F. Gwynn thinks his father's 
old store was located near where the writer's old stone office now stands, on 
Court Street, and that the judgment was carried out down on the ravine 
back from where Dr. Rooney's office now stands. 

The offense charged was stealing three hams, some pork, loaf sugar, 
flour, etc. One defendant was a large, husky darkey, the other a frail white 
man. It was a miners' trial. Samuel W. Holladay, Esq., of Cleveland, Ohio, 
was appointed judge or alcalde pro tern. R. C. Poland, of Ohio, an attorney, 
a near-by miner, was sent for and appointed attorney for the defendants. The 
usual officers of a court, including a sheriff, were appointed, and the trial 
proceeded. Both prisoners were found guilty and each was given seventy- 
five lashes on the bare back by the sheriff. 

Samuel W. Holladay lived in San Francisco for many years, and was 
always on the excursion trains with the old county pioneers when they 
reassembled every ten years at Auburn. He once offered to present Auburn 
with a library, but the citizens had but a short time before secured a library 
from the Carnegie Fund. 

The reader of the early-day article descriptive of the trial will recall 
that there were no American laws in California at the date of the trial, in 
February, 1850. The constitutional convention had not yet been called ; no 
State or Territorial legislature had yet met and legislated. The good Amer- 
ican citizen respected the remnant of the Mexican law and the officers under 
the Mexican law. 

Note how the American genius for law and order shows itself. A jury 
of twelve men were immediately summoned to meet in a large room in 
Gwynn's store as soon as the prisoners were arrested. As stated above, 
Samuel W. Holladay, Esq., of Cleveland, Ohio, attorney-at-law, was ap- 
pointed judge, or alcalde pro tern. ; R. C. Poland, an attorney, consented to 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 239 

defend the prisoners ; and the case forthwith proceeded as an orderly Ameri- 
can trial. The case was regularly continued over Sunday, and reconvened 
on Monday. The Americans and miners knew exactly what to do and how 
to proceed. The sheriff and officers were appointed by a miners' meeting, 
and the trial moved along regularly. Perhaps there was not a law book in 
the courtroom. The American citizens came from thirty different States, 
but the laws in each were very similar — all inherited from the old laws of 
England, the common law of the mother country. A few, perhaps, may have 
come from Louisiana or Texas, and knew something of the civil law or the 
Code Napoleon ; but the prisoners' rights were cared for, and by the light 
of modern California law the prisoners had fair trials. 

The writer comments thus, before quoting the article, to show that, not- 
withstanding the drunken scenes it describes, the foreign writers De Tocque- 
ville, a Frenchman, and Francis Lieber, a German and for a long time pro- 
fessor and writer in several universities in the United States, were correct 
when, in their writing, they praise the Americans for having a peculiar genius 
for law and order, and the ability to formulate at any time and place an 
orderly government, to petition a higher authority for American rights 
which they conceived to be guaranteed to them, or, as in the early case here 
described, to organize a temporary court, select an American jury, and put 
on trial one who has violated the rights of his fellow man and broken the 
laws of all well-organized States or communities. 

The earh' newspaper correspondent's account of the trial follows: 

First Trial Held in Auburn, in 1850 

"Log Cabin on the North Fork, 

"Auburn, Calif., Feb. 16, 1850. 

"An event recently occurred here which is of so exciting a character, 
that I shall make its narration a part of my present correspondence. 

"Mr. John Dobleman (miner) missed from his tent a large quantity of 
provisions, consisting of one bag of beans, one bag or pork, three hams, one 
loaf of white sugar, and sundry articles such as flour, meal, etc. The goods 
had been gone about a week, when he was led to suspect that they were se- 
creted in a tent occupied by four men, about a quarter of a mile distant from 
his own tent. A search was commenced, and the articles found ; and, suspi- 
cions resting upon the inmates, they were immediately seized, and brought 
to town. One of them was a large, athletic yellow man, named Virgil Bena- 
ham, and the other a small, delicate white man named Frederick Gibson. 

"A jury of twelve men were immediately summoned to meet in a large 
room in Gwynn's store. Samuel YV. Holladay, Esq., of Cleveland, Ohio, 
attorney-at-law, was appointed judge, or alcalde pro tern. The trial forth- 
with was commenced. The prisoners pleaded not guilty, and demanded 
counsel. A gentleman named Poland, of Ohio, being at work not far distant, 
was sent for; and being a skillful attorney, he consented to defend them. 

"Mr. Dobleman expressed his readiness to swear to the stolen property, 
and, in fact, no doubt seemed to exist either among audience, court, or 
jury, as to the property being that of Mr. Dobleman, or as to the guilt 
of the accused. It was generally supposed that their counsel would advise 
them to plead guilty and throw themselves upon the mercy of the court, lie 
did not, however, see fit to do so — much, 1 think, t<> the injury of his clients. 
as the result clearly proved. When Mr. Dobleman was about to swear to 
the identity of the articles stolen, he was interrupted by the counsel and 
reminded of the difficulty of identifying such articles as beans, flour, etc.; 
so that, though certain in his own mind, he dared not risk his oath, except 
so far as positively to swear to two or three articles, among which was the 



240 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

loaf of sugar. This had been broken in two parts, and only one part stolen, 
the fragment remaining in his (Dobleman's) possession, and the parts so 
nearly fitting together as to justify him in swearing positively. 

"Several witnesses were called by Dobleman, to prove the guilt of the 
accused, among them the two co-partners of the prisoners, who were inmates 
of the same tent, Mr. of Baltimore, Md., and Mr. . The evi- 
dence was wholly circumstantial. These men had joined the prisoners, from 
their story, after the occurrence bf the robbery, and bought an interest in the 
stock of provisions. They positively swore that, since the time they joined 
the accused, no provisions had been brought into the tent, to their knowl- 
edge. These two witnesses, though called by the prosecution, made bungling 
work of their testimony, and on their cross examination greatly favored the 
prisoners. For instance, Dobleman swore that the lump of sugar, stolen 
from him, and exhibited to the jury, was broken into two parts — one-third 
of the top part remaining in his possession. The witnesses swore that when 
they bought their interest in the provisions, and partook for the first time of 
the loaf of sugar, it was an entire loaf. From their statement they bought in 
for a given sum, and never weighed, counted, nor examined, to see what they 
had bought, simply taking the negro's statement, that there was a certain 
amount in dollars and cents in provisions. Nor did they even trouble them- 
selves as to how or where he obtained them. 

"The prisoners were tried separately — the negro first. The case occu- 
pied an entire day, and ended in his conviction. His counsel demanded sen- 
tence to be delayed, until the trial of the white man was concluded, when, if 
the verdict was 'guilty,' he should appeal for a new trial in behalf of both 
his clients. Sentence was accordingly delayed, a new jury summoned, and 
the trial of Frederick Gibson commenced. The testimony was of a similar 
character to that given in the case of the negro ; but much delay was occa- 
sioned in consequence of the garrulity of one of the jurymen. The summing 
up occupied much time, and a large crowd were excited to a high degree, 
in consequence of some remarks made by the prisoner's counsel, who 
characterized the proceedings as a species of mobocracy, wholly illegal, and 
hinted that the prosecutor had perjured himself in swearing to the provi- 
sions. Nor was the excitement lessened when the jury declared themselves 
unable to agree, one of their number having sworn to die rather than say 
'guilty.' The jury was therefore discharged, and the case postponed until 
Monday (next day being Sabbath), for another hearing. 

"Several of the excited crowd, some of them under the stimulus of liquor, 
seemed determined to punish the lawyer for his fiery speech ; but he wisely 
departed in time to save himself unharmed. 

"On Monday the excitement had somewhat cooled ; but the reports which 
had gone out during the Sabbath drew a large concourse of people. A new 
jury was empaneled, and the thrice-told story resulted in the white man's 
conviction, the jury being absent about ten minutes. 

"The counsel at once appealed for a new trial in behalf of the negro ; 
but the motion was denied by the alcalde, and the colored man ordered to 
stand up for sentence. On being asked whether he had anything to say why 
sentence should not be passed upon him, he rose, and in a voice tremulous 
with emotion, replied that he had a few words to say. He then frankly 
confessed the theft, but solemnly declared that the three white men, who 
were his co-partners in mining, had planned and arranged the whole matter, 
and induced him to carry out their designs. He declared his innocence of 
even the thought of theft, until tempted by his partners. While talking, his 
feelings overpowered him and he sat down and wept bitterly. The alcalde 
then sentenced him to receive on his bare back seventy-five lashes, and 
ordered him to leave the mines within twentv-four hours, taking nothing 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 241 

with him but his clothes, his entire property to be sold to pay the expenses 
of the trial. 

"The white man had nothing to say. The judge, in passing sentence, 
was very severe in his accompanying remarks. For a negro, he said, there 
might be some shadow of excuse, but for a white man, none. He (the judge) 
held him thrice guilty. In a country favored by heaven above all other lands, 
he had been guilty of a crime most heinous ; he had made the case more 
aggravating by tempting a poor colored man to join him ; he had set an 
example which, in a country like this (where there were yet no regular laws 
in force), was calculated to result in great injury. The court thought he 
deserved a double portion of punishment; but in consideration of his delicate 
frame and small stature, his sentence would be the same as that of the negro. 

"The sheriff pro tern, now took the prisoners into custody, and the hour 
of four o'clock p. m. was fixed for the infliction of the penalty. For some 
time I experienced a severe struggle between feeling and duty, in reference 
to witnessing this scene; but the increasing excitement, and my duty as a 
public journalist, determined me finally to see the end of it, however painful 
it might be, and I will endeavor faithfully to picture the denouement. 

"The crowd was ripe for anything, and the prejudice and the excitement 
against the white man were deep and dangerous. The prisoners had been 
conducted by the sheriff into the upper story of Gwynn's log cabin. The 
floor is of rough clapboards laid on sleepers, and underneath is a capacious 
bar-room and restaurant, kept by a Frenchman named Prinaud. In this 
restaurant the rabble gathered — old men and young — Americans, Chilians, 
Mexicans and Germans; some drunk, some sober, all more or less excited. 
The bowl flowed freely, and reckless men gulped down the liquid fire as if 
it would not burn its way to their brains and make them do deeds which 
madmen do. 

"Suddenly the dreadful cry of 'Murder!' fell upon every ear! — 'Murder! 
murder! My God! Murder!' — until for an instant every human form was 
still as death ; but it was only for an instant, and then, like tumultuous waves, 
the whole mass of men rushed towards the staircase, and up to the room 
where the prisoners were confined. It was a dreadful sight, as I stood calmly 
and saw those excited men mounting that frail staircase — some with loaded 
pistols, some with drawn knives, but all desperate. My first impressions 
were that the white man had stabbed the negro ; but a voice cried, 'It's Harry, 
the sheriff,' and all expected to see him weltering in his blood. At this point 
the cracking timbers above our heads gave fearful warning. Mr. Gwynn 
(who at that time was extremely sick with fever) gave the alarm cry, and 
in a few moments the danger was over and the mystery solved. Dobleman, 
the prosecutor, had, it seems, called one of the witnesses upstairs, and 
accused him of having a hand in the robbery, which he stoutly denied. So 
Dobleman set to work to pummel him unmercifully, until his terrible cries 
of murder stirred up the ferment just alluded to. The sufferer soon made 
his appearance — his eyes and cheek battered and covered with blood, a spec- 
tacle to gaze upon. 

"A few mure drinks, and oaths and cursings, and the sheriff appeared 
with his prisoners, both having their hands tied behind them. The negro 
was led by the sheriff, while the white man was held by a long rope, in 

the hands of a reeling drunkard who kept exclaiming, 'Yes, d n him — I'll 

hold him.' 'You (hiccough) git away from this (hiccough) coon if ye can. 

(1 n ye,' and such like expressions. The crowd followed on, and after 

crossing a wide ravine the sheriff paused on a bank beneath a gnarled oak 
tree. Here the negro was stripped to the waist, lie was a perfect Hercules 
in size and strength, over six feet, full-bodied, brawny arms, and broad 
chest, with a skin, below the neck, whiter than many a white man could 
boast of, his face only being a light yellow or mulatto color. Mis hands 



242 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

were firmly tied together, and then drawn high above his head, and the rope 
tied strongly around the tree. The sheriff, who is a butcher, prepared to 
administer, with a large raw-hide, the first ten blows. Every stroke raised 
its ridge, as big as the rod which inflicted it, and the negro writhed like a 
serpent tortured by flames. The negro raved, he roared and groaned under 
the cruel smart, crying out in his agony, 'O God! have mercy! O Christ! 
have mercy! O men, have you no mercy? I cannot bear it! O! how many 
lashes have you given me?' But no voice replied except the loud jeer of 
some drunken brute, making mockery of his appeals. But for the honor of 
humanity, be it spoken, I saw some tears of pity tumbling from manly eyes 
there, as big as the drops of agony that coursed down the cheek of the 
tortured negro. 

"The fourth round being finished, Dobleman, the prosecutor, advanced 
and took the weapon to administer the fifth ; and never can I forget the look 
and soul-stirring appeal of that helpless negro, 'Oh, Mr. Dobleman, don't! 
don't! don't strike me! Your blows will be too hard!' The appeal was un- 
heeded; just as the arm was raised, the alcalde came forward and ordered 
the sheriff to administer the rest of the punishment in person. This being 
done, the prisoner was set at liberty, and Dr. Grove and myself assisted him 
to the ravine, where his flannel waistcoat was dipped in the cool stream, 
and put upon his lacerated and burning back, and he departed on his way, an 
outcast. 

"When I returned, the white man was already stripped and tied, and 
punishment had commenced. His little bony frame weighed about 110 
pounds, and I trembled for him, for I knew the deep prejudice existing 
towards him, and I saw vengeance in many eyes. He too saw it ; he felt 
there was no mercy, no relenting in any heart, and he seemed as if nerving 
himself to meet his fate. Oh ! how they whipped him ! It was too painful 
to witness, and I turned my head, sick at heart. I heard him beg a drink of 
water, but they laughed at his request and paid no heed to his cries. 'Give 
it to him' — 'Give him another for good' measure' — 'Hit him again,' etc., were 
the sounds which greeted his ears until the seventy-fifth blow set him free; 
and he was hardly loosed before a drunkard fell upon him ; and the crowd 
rushed on, not yet satiated — some reeling, some quarreling, some crazy 
with liquor. 

"Oh, it was a sight, above all others, calculated to make one weep over 
fallen humanity. Here were men who at home bore respectable characters ; 
here were sons of the wealthy and great; here young men of fine intellect, 
and good education, all wild and reckless and frenzied with liquor. For the 
world, I would not name them ; and I hope it may never be known, at home, 
who they are who thus cheaply sell (what is so dear to every good man) a 
reputation. Many a wife, sister, and mother, who are now happy at home, 
would, if they were here, weep tears of anguish. Their ignorance is bliss, 
indeed. But the sequel of this day's excitement remains to be rehearsed. 

"The criminals paid the forfeit, and justice was satisfied. But not so the 
excited rabble, who now felt the keenest of appetite made morbid by the 
bloody scene already enacted. Here a knot of sensible men were discussing 
the propriety, necessity and influence of such modes of punishment. Another 
crowd near by were unanimous in their conclusions that the victims ought 
to have their heads shaven and their ears cut off. Another party thought 
hanging was the only true way to serve thieves ; while yonder a gang of 
drunkards raved as alcohol makes men rave. One young man, with a pale 
face, high forehead and bright blue eye, had permitted rum to make him a 
madman. Several gentlemen vainly endeavored to calm him, and get him 
away from the crowd. Mr. Gwynn, the storekeeper, knowing him well, and 
aware that his father is a man of influence in the States, used every means 
in his power to influence him, but neither force, nor entreaty, nor kindness 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 243 

would affect him. The demon had full possession. And now a cry is heard 
and a man is seen running, his pursuer close to his heels. It is the unfor- 
tunate witness whom the prosecutor, Dobleman, so severely punished. He 
stops, the crowd gathered around him ; and weeping like an infant he appeals 
to them : 'Gentlemen, I am an innocent man. I had no part in this robbery ! 
Take me, if you choose ; whip me, kill me, give me five hundred lashes ; I 
will bear them; but I am an innocent man.' 'Thrash him!' cries one. 'Hang 

him!' 'D n him!' 'Hang him!' echoed several voices. When, amid the 

general tumult, Dobleman, the prosecutor, got a hearing, 'Gentlemen,' he 
said, 'this man is as guilty as the two men we have just whipped. I put it to 
the company, whether he shall not have fifty lashes !' 'Aye ! Aye ! Aye !' came 
from scores of voices, and then the mob hooted and the drunkards howled, 
and they were leading the miserable man off. 

"With nerve strung up to such a pitch that I believe I could have faced 
a thousand, I rushed among the crowd towards Dobleman, exclaiming, 
'Good God ! men, will you let it go home to our friends that we have com- 
mitted an act like this? Will you sentence the man without judge or jury?' 
I besought Dobleman to pause, I pleaded, I entreated ; but a drunkard came, 
brandishing a huge fist in my face, and my voice was lost amid a roar 
of voices. 

"Suddenly, to my great joy, the alcalde appeared. He saw the true 
state of things ; and with a coolness and decision which did him infinite 
honor, he instantly ordered the arrest of two of the leaders of the gang. The 
sheriff did his duty. A pause ensued, and taking advantage of it, the alcalde 
mounted the trunk of a fallen tree and appealed to the crowd, addressing 
them as 'Men of Auburn, American citizens,' of whom, in private, in public, 
in letters to friends, to newspapers, he had hitherto delighted to speak as 
a peaceable people, an order-loving community. He recounted the circum- 
stances of the trial, the patience of the jury, the impartial manner in which 
justice had been dealt out to the accused ; and he concluded by asking 
whether his hearers would make a mockery of what had already trans- 
pired — whether they would insult the jury and court, after their patient sit- 
ting, by resorting to lynch law, and whipping a man without trial. The 
effect was magical. The tempestuous ocean of passion was calmed, and 
when he concluded the witness walked one way, Dobleman the other, and 
the people gave a hearty cheer for Samuel W. Holladay, of Cleveland, Ohio, 
the temporary alcalde of these dry diggings, a noble-hearted, talented 
young man. 

"Night soon threw her mantle over hill and vale and quietness and 
good order once more reigned triumphant in the drv diggings on the North 
Fork." 

NOTED CRIMES AND CRIMINALS 

Mountaineer and Lowlander 

Without a doubt. Placer County has had its share of sordid crimes 
committed against the laws of the State and the rights of the citizens of 
the community; yet our people have always flattered themselves that by its 
very location their count}' is the natural home of law and order, and that 
in the mountains have always dwelt a class of people similar to the moun- 
tain Swiss of Europe, and who, like them, prize liberty and evince all the 
sterling characteristics of that law-abiding people, whose ancestors, the 
Helvetii, Caesar described as almost unconquerable. The same Roman gen- 
eral described the "bravest" of all the Gallic tribes as tin- Belgae, who 
inhabited the lowlands near the coast, now the land of the sturdy Belgian 
and Hollander, a portion of Europe noted for its thrift, economy, perse- 



244 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

verance, good order, and love of liberty. It may be a mere notion, but we 
are proud of the frequent reference to the happy combination, in the people 
of our county, of the characteristics of the mountain Swiss and the sturdy 
lowlander. 

Conditions Contributory to Crime 

Yet the early-day conditions in this State and county, especially after 
the discovery of gold and the influx of adventurers from far and near, ren- 
dered the occurrence of crimes inevitable. Next after Coloma, the North 
Fork Dry Diggings were among the first places to attract the miners, and 
among them came some rough characters. There were many disbanded 
volunteer soldiers who were often rough and overbearing to civilians. Then 
again, the future Placer County was one of the main overland routes through 
which many of the early pioneers, good and bad, came into the State. Stage 
communication was easy and frequent from Sacramento, via Ophir and 
Auburn, into all the upper mining sections, such as Yankee Jims, Forest 
Hill, Michigan Bluff, Iowa Hill, Illinoistown, Gold Run and Dutch Flat. 
Moreover, the Placer County ridge route was a little later selected by Engi- 
neer Theodore D. Judah as the best for an overland railroad ; and from 
January, 1863, when the work began in Sacramento, to the driving of the 
last spike in 1869, vast crowds of railroad workmen were continuously on 
the move in and through Placer County. Large bodies of men were also 
employed in building the Nevada County narrow-gauge railroad, starting at 
Colfax, in 1875 and 1876, and also what is known as the "Harriman Cut-off," 
built from Rocklin to Colfax in 1909 to 1912. 

Considering all the above facts, and the opportunities for bad order and 
lawless outbreaks, Placer County has always borne a good reputation for 
law and order. By searching the county records and county newspapers 
many vicious crimes, no doubt, could be brought to light ; but the writer, 
after fifty-two years' residence in Placer County, feels safe in saying that 
our criminal record is well within the average for this section of the State. 
A good class of pioneers to start with, added to by intelligent, thrifty new 
settlers during the later years of material progress, and supported in their 
rights, first and last, by a line of brave and fearless sheriffs and constables, 
justify the writer in claiming that "Old Placer" is an orderly county to 
abide in. 

Only a few of the most noted criminals, with their crimes against the 
people, and the punishment received, will be mentioned in this chapter. As 
is quite natural, most of the early-day offenses took place in the mining 
sections or in the mountains. 

The Murder of Montgomery 

One of the most noted crimes committed in the early fifties, in Placer 
County, was the murder of Thomas Montgomery by William Johnson, at 
Iowa Hill. Johnson had powerful relatives, and these long afterwards were 
active in seeking revenge for his execution. 

The trouble originated after midnight in a hotel. Two men got into 
a difficulty, and Johnson and Montgomery each tried to protect a friend of 
his in the first quarrel. By so doing Johnson and Montgomery became the 
principals in the row. Johnson seemed to be the aggressor. Knives were 
drawn, but the bystanders calmed the men and the knives were put up. Bad 
blood was aroused, however, and worse whisky helped the trouble on. The 






HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 245 

men were separated, and after six o'clock in the morning- it was supposed 
the row was over. Montgomery seemed to be intoxicated. But Johnson, 
still acting as the aggressor, knocked Montgomery down when they met in 
the morning. Montgomery then drew a revolver, as he considered himself 
no match for Johnson. Later Johnson again assaulted Montgomery in the 
street. Montgomery drew his pistol, and Johnson ran into a hotel. Mont- 
gomery followed Johnson, hut tripped on the door-sill and caught hold of 
the door post. "While Montgomery was recovering a standing position, 
Johnson seized him by the collar with his left hand and stabbed him many 
times with his knife. Johnson fled, but was captured by the constable, 
W. M. Crutcher, and returned to Iowa Hill. 

What followed may be called mob law. but it had a sort of American 
element of fairness in it. Iowa Hill was a large town at that time, casting 
600 votes. The miners selected a committee, or a sort of grand jury, con- 
sisting of thirty-five men. The prisoner was given twenty-four hours to 
prepare for trial. He was put into the hands of Deputy Sheriff Sinclair for 
safe keeping. Many feared an attempted rescue, and volunteer guards 
offered themselves. 

At four o'clock p. m. the town-crier announced that a meeting of the 
citizens would be held at the Queen City Hotel. At the meeting the Hook 
and Ladder Company and twenty-five other citizens were appointed as a 
guard to the prisoner, and to prevent fire. The thirty-five committeemen, or 
grand jury, were chosen to examine the prisoner. These were nominated 
and voted for separately, and elected with no opposition. Out of the thirty- 
five, twelve were to be selected by ballot, who were to be the examining 
committee and make a report to the people. The examination began at 
eight o'clock and continued until two o'clock the next morning. Sixteen 
witnesses were examined, being first duly sworn, and the prisoner was pres- 
ent and cross-examined the witnesses freely, asking leading questions. The 
prisoner was allowed to send for at least six witnesses who were his personal 
friends. At two o'clock the committee or grand jury adjourned till nine 
o'clock of the same day. At that hour the following report was made to 
the citizens : 

"That, on the evening of the 22nd of December, at eight o'clock, a 
majority of the committee appointed to investigate the matter with regard 
to the affray between Wm. M. Johnson and Thomas Montgomery, assem- 
bled in the Queen City Hotel and immediately proceeded to select twelve 
of their number by ballot, as directed by the meeting ; and your committee, 
after the most unprejudiced and careful investigation, and after having 
examined all the witnesses (who were first duly sworn), both for and against 
the prisoner, to the number of sixteen, whose testimony was given in the 
presence of the accused, who was allowed the utmost latitude in cross-exam- 
ining the same, we, the committee, have come to the conclusion, from all 
the facts elicited in our examination, that the prisoner, Wffl, M. Johnson, 
without sufficient provocation in the first assault, and five hours after 
without any provocation at all. in the second and third, is guilty of an 
assault and battery, with intent to kill. 

"In testimony whereof we have hereunto affixed our names. 

"John T. Hill, James Fox, David Symmes, Michael Gahan, .Michael 
Rogan, Daniel Lathrop, fohn M. Demiss, I. Ryers, W. |. 
Armstrong. B. D. Howes, M. 1'.. Tubbs. W. R. Oldam, 
Chairman." 

The meeting was called to order at ten a. m. on December 23. The 
report was read by the chairman, and the people were asked what should 



246 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

be done with the prisoner. The overwhelming verdict of 1500 people was, 
"Hang him !" A committee and a sheriff were selected to act. All this 
was done by nearly a unanimous vote — there were some twenty negative 
votes. The committee and sheriff took the prisoner to a tree and carried 
the will of the people into execution. The prisoner even disgusted his 
executioners with his depraved cursing and blasphemy. He was permitted 
to be his own executioner by jumping off the head of a barrel and hanging 
himself. 

It was reported that during the whole two days after the killing of 
Montgomery not a single man seemed to be intoxicated. Everything was 
done in a cool, deliberate manner. Every man seemed to have made up 
his mind that a wave of crime sweeping over the State should be prevented 
by a severe example of punishment. 

A brother of Johnson later secured the indictment of many citizens 
of Iowa Hill. Many arrests were made and an immense bill of costs was 
run up against the county, but no convictions followed. 

In February, 1855, Mr. Robert McClure, of Yankee Jims, went to San 
Francisco to meet his father, who was just returning from the East. He 
happened to be standing with several other men, one a Mr. Norden, from 
Iowa Hill, when they were attacked by a large gang of roughs, headed 
by a brother of the Iowa Hill murderer. McClure and the other men, 
including the Iowa Hill man, were terribly beaten. The papers and city 
government of San Francisco were then controlled by gangsters of the 
roughest type, but the Vigilance Committee of the next year (1856) executed 
a lot of politicians and murderers and reformed the city for the better. 

The Iowa Hill proceedings were called the act of a mob, but it seems 
to have been a very orderly mob. Practically the whole town of 1500 
people, in a very cool and deliberate manner, using all the legal methods 
they knew of, were determined to rid the community of a representative 
of the vicious elements then controlling many of the larger cities and riding 
rough-shod over the whole State. It was mob law, perhaps, but of an 
intelligent, cool, merciful, and well-carried-out kind. The corrupt social 
and political evils of the times needed most drastic cures. The sober- 
minded, strict legalists, no doubt, did not fully approve the remedies used ; 
but they were winked at and generally excused. There seemed to be no 
other quick and adequate remedy to use. 

A Jail-Delivery and Lynching 

The Herald of February 18, 1858, describes a brutal murder, and a 
consequent jail-delivery and hanging by a mob. 

A negro named Aaron Bracey, who owned a little place in the northern 
part of Auburn, sold to his neighbor, James Murphy, a piece of his land. 
They met near their boundary line, and in an altercation Bracey struck 
Murphy on the head with a pickaxe, opening his head and exposing the 
brain. The negro gave himself up to the officers, and citizens cared for 
Murphy, who, before he died, explained how he received his wound. Bracey 
was lodged in jail; but in the evening it was rumored that he would be 
liberated and lynched. 

About 2 :30 o'clock next morning, some sixty-five men overpowered the 
sheriff and deputies and took the jail keys, though in their impatient haste 
the mob burst in the doors with a sledge-hammer; and Bracey was taken 
to the edge of town and hanged. Father Quinn, of Sacramento, who had 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 247 

come up to see Murphy, interceded for the prisoner and tried to quell 
the mob, but without avail. 

The negro had killed a Chinaman in Auburn, about two years before, 
and had been tried, but acquitted by the jury. Both men left a wife and 
children. 

"The Pirate of the Placers" 

One of Placer County's most noted criminals was a young man who, 
soon after coming into the county, acquired the name of "Rattlesnake 
Dick." The writer has listened by the hour to John C. Boggs, at one time 
sheriff of the county and most of his life a deputy sheriff and constable in 
Auburn, while he described some of Dick's crimes and his (Boggs') efforts 
to capture the noted criminal. 

The real name of the criminal was Richard H. Barter. When he began 
his criminal career he named himself "The Pirate of the Placers." He had 
natural ability, was handsome, vain, and of a roving disposition. He was 
well born in Canada, and came to Rattlesnake Bar in the year 1850, when 
about seventeen years of age. His father was a colonel in the English 
Army. He came to Placer County with an elder brother and an elderly 
man, but they soon returned home. Young Barter, being left behind, ab- 
sorbed more of the bad in that mining camp than of the good, became 
immoral and degraded, and seemed to be proud of it. His surroundings 
in his early home in Canada, however, were of the best. An affectionate 
sister, writing from "Sweet Home" on March 14, 1859, when Barter was 
young in years but already becoming old in crime, and nearing his reckless 
end, shows that the early surroundings of the young man must have been 
of the best. 

The turning-point of a young man's life is often not of his own choos- 
ing; and it proved so with young Richard. He mined at Rattlesnake Bar 
until he was twenty years of age ; and then came the unfortunate incident 
that proved to be the fateful parting of the ways, where his faltering feet 
veered to the path of crime. In 1853 he was twice maliciously accused of 
crimes of which he was not guilty. The first charge was the stealing of 
some clothing from a Jewish merchant who kept a mining-camp variety 
store. He was defended by B. F. Myres, attorney, and the jury returned 
a verdict of not guilty. Afterwards it was ascertained that the accusation 
was falsely and maliciously made. His second accuser was a Mormon 
named Crow. This time he was accused of stealing a mule. He was con- 
victed and sentenced to State prison for two years ; but before he was 
taken below to serve his sentence, it was discovered that he was innocent of 
this charge also. 

To be accused twice in one year, and tried for grave offenses (robbery 
and theft), and then for the most hateful of crimes in those days (horse 
or mule-stealing), and to be convicted and ordered into State prison, al- 
though guilty of neither offense, was an ordeal calculated to embitter a 
young man's life; and it soured young Barter's very soul. But he determined 
to lead a decent life, and leaving Placer, went north to Shasta County. His 
record of conviction for mule-stealing followed him, however, while his 
innocence and discharge were perhaps never reported. In Dick's opinion, 
every one suspected him as a criminal, and treated him as such. It filled 
his waking hours with bitterness. He began to consider himself an outcast, 
and lost hope of ever again having a good name. He was not yet a law- 



248 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

breaker, but it needed only one false step to make him one. He was young 
and inexperienced, and had no parents or other relations to whom he could 
go for comfort. He was tall and commanding in appearance, with black 
hair and eyes, and had had the respect of men and the admiration of women, 
for he was a manly-looking man ; but he now felt he was alone in the "world, 
and before he was twenty-one he determined to be a first-class criminal, 
a knight of the road, the leader of a band or gang, a captain and leader' 
in law-breaking. 

As a preliminary start, he robbed a stage in Shasta County, and fol- 
lowed this with other robberies of sluices and houses till he had worked/, 
south to the American River, near his old home. Here he organized a band 
of like-minded desperadoes. Folsom was his headquarters in 1856. His 
main lieutenants were George Skinner, alias Walker, alias Williams ; and 
Cyrus Skinner, brother of George, who assumed the same side names as 
his brother. Then there were Adolphy Newton, sometimes called "Big 
Dolph Newton," Nickamore Romeo, and William T. Carter. 

With this reckless band of men Rattlesnake Dick did some very quiet, 
polite, and not very dangerous robbing of stages and sluices, mixed in with 
numerous burglaries and larcenies. He evidently yearned for larger and 
more dangerous adventures. His opportunity came when he planned the 
robbery of Wells, Fargo & Company's "gold train" from Yreka, Siskiyou 
County. 

Dick and his confederates discovered that $80,000 in bullion would 
be packed out on mules, guarded by twenty men. Trinity Mountain was 
the place of attack. Dick and Cy Skinner were to raid Placer County for 
fresh mules, because the Wells-Fargo mules were branded and impossible 
of use. The plan was for George Skinner, Newton, Romeo, Carter and a 
Mexican to attack the train at an agre'ed lonely spot and capture it. This' 
they did successfully, and the twenty guards were tied to trees and the 
train unloaded. The robbers waited for several days for Dick and the fresh 
mules, but they never came. Dick and his pal had been arrested for stealing 
mules, and were immediately put into the county jail at Auburn. The men 
who robbed the train did not dare wait long; so they buried $40,000 of the 
bullion, and taking the other half, left in the night-time for Folsom, their 
headquarters. The usual thing among thieves and robbers took place, 
though. A quarrel about the stolen gold arose and the Mexican was killed. 

Meantime the twenty guards cut themselves loose, and soon Jack Bark- 
ley, the Wells-Fargo detective, started towards Folsom in pursuit with five 
assistants. They met the robbers near Folsom in the night-time, and a 
hot battle followed. George Skinner was killed. Romeo was captured while 
attempting to swim the American River, badly wounded. Newton was 
also wounded. Four of detective Barkley's posse deserted at the first shots, 
and Barkley and another man fought the battle alone. Romeo, Newton 
and Carter, who was also captured, were tried and sent to the penitentiary for 
ten yeai's each. Carter was later pardoned, as he aided in the recovery of 
the $40,000 hid near Folsom. The other $40,000 no doubt lies buried near 
Trinity Mountain to this day. 

Rattlesnake Dick picked out two very tough brothers when he selected 
George and Cyrus Skinner, as the following records will prove. George had 
been sent to the penitentiary, as a first visit, in August, 1851, from Eldorado 
County, and served two years. He was nearly at the head of his class, 
being the twentieth man incarcerated in the California State prison. In 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 249 

June. 1854, he was convicted of grand larceny in Yuba County, and was 
sent to the State prison for three years. He escaped on October 24. 1854, 
and was killed in 1856, as above stated. The brother Cyrus was convicted 
in 1856 of grand larceny and was sent to State prison on five commitments 
for a term of fourteen years. He soon escaped, however, and falling in with 
Rattlesnake Dick, he was soon arrested for mule-stealing, as we have re- 
lated. They both broke out of the Auburn jail, and then separated. Skinner 
was recaptured and sent back to State prison, where he remained until 1860, 
when he again escaped. He then went to Montana, where the Yigilance 
Committee promptly hanged him for some offense. 

After bidding good-bye to the jail in Auburn, finding himself alone, 
Dick decided to go to San Francisco and organize a new gang of desper- 
adoes. The chief spirits in this gang, besides Rattlesnake Dick, were 
George Taylor, Alex Wright. Billy Dickson and Jim Driscoll. Dick was 
arrested several times on suspicion in San Francisco, and was "shown up" 
with others in the public plaza, in keeping with a custom of those days of 
publicly "showing" supposed bad characters to the small police force and 
citizens in general, in order to familiarize them with the features and gen- 
eral appearance of the criminals. The Yigilance Committee arose in all 
its strength about this time, hanged a few bad men, and drove Dick and his 
pals from the city and back into the placers once more. 

The county was almost helpless. With. Rattlesnake Bar as headquar- 
ters, Dick, the young, handsome criminal, now only twenty-three or twenty- 
four years old, made the lives of the sheriff and constables weary. It was 
almost a continual battle, but Dick seemed to bear a charmed life. 

Rattlesnake Dick bore a special hatred against John C. Boggs — not for 
any "business transactions" occurring on the road, but because Boggs had 
sworn falsely against him. as Dick asserted, though it is more likely that 
the true reason was that Boggs interfered with his criminal plans and 
persistently hunted him and his gang, night and day ; yet by some chance 
neither one was ever hit by the other in their numerous pistol duels. 

The writer talked many times with Sheriff Boggs, along in the early 
eighties, about Dick and his wonderful ability in escaping from jails when 
arrested. Boggs regarded Dick as a bad. desperate young law-breaker ; but 
he seemed to have had a sort of admiration for him while he lived, and 
often talked with him when he was temporarily in jail — for he did not 
stay long imprisoned, always finding means for breaking out of the poorly 
constructed jails used in the early days. Dick always complained that he 
was started on his downward course by being falsely accused twice and 
convicted once while he was yet a boy. 

Mr. Boggs described the following "stupid effort." as he called it. to 
capture Dick. He was at Folsom and learned that Dick and one of his pals, 
George Taylor, had left Nevada City for Folsom by stage. He rode to- 
wards Auburn and picked his place of meeting the stage on what is now 
called "the widow Harmon grade." about two miles south of Auburn, on 
what was called the Sacramento or Folsom road. Boggs had a warrant 
of arrest, plenty of handcuffs, and one small derringer — to capture two 
desperadoes. Dick was only twenty-four years of age. this being in 1S57. 

The stage came down the grade at rapid speed, but Boggs commanded 
the driver tn stop, which command was promptly obeyed. Pick and Taylor 
were sitting on top of the stage, talking to a writer fur a San Francisco 
newspaper. Boggs ordered Dick and Taylor to come down off the stage. 



250 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

He said he felt so sure of his success that he thought they would climb 
down quickly and hold out their wrists to be manacled rather than be shot 
in their seats ; but they denied their identity and started to parley with 
Boggs. Taylor demanded to see the officer's warrant of arrest. Boggs, 
when relating the incidents of the meeting, seemed to think he must have 
been dazed or excited, or had a short lapse of sanity, his own actions were 
so lacking in good sense. He actually tried to comply with the gentlemanly 
request of Taylor, and started to produce the warrant. The two outlaws 
instantly began firing at the officer with their revolvers. This seemed to 
awaken Boggs, and he was not long in replying with his derringer. Dick 
and Taylor slid off the stage and rushed into the dense brush at the 
roadside. Boggs admitted that his actions on that occasion were the most 
childish in all his thirty years' experience in catching criminals. 

Undersheriff George Johnston and John Boggs at one time captured Dick 
in Nevada County, near Nevada City. Having information as to where he 
could be found, they met him in the woods, and the usual fight was on. 
Dick ran to escape, but fired at his pursuers as often as possible. Nobody 
was hurt, as usual, but unfortunately for Dick he tripped and fell, and his 
pursuers got him. He begged for mercy, but was quickly locked in jail. 
As usual, however, he broke out. It was reported that Dick broke out of 
nearly every jail in Northern California. 

But enough of Rattlesnake Dick's crimes and thrilling escapes. His 
death was soon to happen in a swift and vengeful manner, for every man's 
hand was against him. His offenses were many, and he was watched for 
night and day. His final battle and end came on July 11, 1859, when he 
was only twenty-six years of age. With a companion he rode north through 
Auburn that evening, at about 8 :30. o'clock, while a bright moon was 
shining. It took but a few minutes to pass the word to the county officers 
then in town ; and soon Deputy Tax Collector George W. Martin, Under- 
sheriff George C. Johnston, and Deputy Sheriff W. M. Crutcher, all well 
mounted, started in pursuit. They overtook Dick and his companion about 
a mile above town, where Dr. Russell's residence now stands. Johnston 
was ahead and called on the men to halt. Dick asked what was wanted, 
and immediately a shot from Dick's revolver cut the bridle rein held by 
Johnston in his left hand, at the same time shattering the hand badly. At 
the same time a shot from Dick's companion passed Crutcher, but struck 
and killed Martin. With Martin killed and Johnston almost helpless by 
reason of not being able to control his horse, only Deputy Sheriff Crutcher 
was left as an effective officer, but Johnston managed to get one good shot 
at Dick which mortally wounded him. Dick and his friend then fled and 
rode rapidly up the road, Dick reeling in the saddle. The immediate section 
was searched that night without results, but next morning the Iowa Hill 
stage-driver and passengers found Dick by the road side, near the old 
junction-house. He had ridden about a mile from his last battle-ground, 
though he had been shot twice clear through the body. Either wound 
would have killed him ultimately, but it seemed the real cause of death 
was a bullet sent through his brain, whether by himself or by his com- 
panion never will be known. His arm was in such a position, with a pistol 
in his hand, that he could have committed suicide. He often boasted that 
he would commit suicide rather than stay in jail; but he had also always 
directed his companions, if he should ever be badly wounded in a battle, 
to kill him and then escape. His body was lying on a pile of brush, a 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 251 

saddle-blanket partly covering him. He had on a pair of kid gloves, in one 
of which was a piece of paper on which were penciled the words: "Rattle- 
snake Dick, dies but never surrenders, as all true Britons do" ; and on the 
other side was written: "If J. Boggs is dead, I am satisfied." Dick evi- 
dently thought his shot had killed Boggs instead of Martin. His last bitter 
thoughts were against Boggs, who had never allowed him any peace night 
or day as a free man. 

There has always been some doubt whether there was sufficient light, 
and whether the sinking man had sufficient strength, to write out his vain- 
glorious boast as a "true Briton" and his parting word of satisfaction over 
the supposed death of John Boggs. Some have suggested that the two 
messages were prepared in advance and placed in the kid glove, ready for 
the dramatic end, and then — suicide. 

The body of Rattlesnake Dick was brought to Auburn ; and while it 
was lying on the sidewalk, a man by the name of Sam Whitemarch deliber- 
ately kicked the dead criminal in the face. This brutal treatment, it is 
said, defeated Whitemarch for the office of supervisor. The old pioneers 
could not tolerate such indecent insult to a corpse of even an outlaw. 

Like many other outlaws, "The Pirate of the Placers" was well dressed. 
He wore black pants, light-colored vest, a light-drab merino coat, and kid 
gloves ; and he was buried as he died. 

Richard H. Barter was, no doubt, a misguided youth at Rattlesnake 
Bar. He developed into a bold, reckless highwayman and criminal ; but 
those two felony charges, maliciously false, filed against him in one j'ear 
before his majority, may have done much to harden and coarsen a nature 
that was not wholly depraved. A letter written to him by his sister, dated 
March 14, 1859, is quoted below. There was no envelope to the letter, and 
no certainty where it came from ; but as he sometimes got letters from 
Canada, this one was supposed to have been written there, and was his 
last letter from "Sweet Home," no doubt. No wonder he cherished it and 
carried it with him. 

"Sweet Home, March 14, 1859. 
"My Dear, Dear Brother: 

"I can scarcely believe, or rather realize, that I am again indulging in 
the privilege of addressing you, with the hope of being heard or under- 
stood ; and tremblingly I ask that you, my beloved brother, the guide of 
my infant joys, the long-lost friend of my childhood, will allow a renewed 
correspondence to open between you and your good old home. Oh! how 
our hearts have ached for a word from your pen! Years have passed away 
since your last letter reached us — years that now seem to be lifetimes. 1 
have grieved, but never despaired, for I have prayed to the Father that He 
would restore you to the paths of rectitude: but if He has not already, you 
will say: 'Ah me! He will never save me!' But I say, faithfully, lie will. 
Oh brother, will you not be saved? God sees your heart while you read 
these words. He knows, if there is a secret wish there, it is to be a better 
man. If there be but the bud of a resolution. He knows. Hear him sa\ : 
'Seek ye first the Kingdom of Cod, and all things shall be added thereunto.' 
Jesus will raise your head and make you a new man. Co to I Mm. Oh! 
my brother ! 

"Will you not write a few words to your own home? It may, indeed, 
be a bitter task: but may it not prove a blessing? Do try to overcome 



252 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

ever}' obstacle ; look down deep into your heart and see if there is not a 
wish to remember your sister, your own most affectionate sister. 

"Harriet Barter. 

"P. S. Please do write, dear brother, and I will tell you so many things 
that will interest you. 

"To Richard H. Barter." 

Tom Bell 

There was another noted character, by the name of Tom Bell, who 
operated from Oregon through Placer County, down into the southern 
counties. His band of desperate men, numbering several hundreds, had 
certain signs of recognition, the main one being a round leaden bullet with 
a short piece of string through it. 

On the Folsom road, below Auburn, there was a road house or tavern 
called the Mountaineer House, conducted by one Jack Phillips. The pro- 
prietor and his hotel bore a bad reputation ; too many tough characters and 
not enough honest teamsters met there. It was much of the time the 
headquarters for Tom Bell and his gang of cut-throats. Tom Bell or 
another member of the gang would treat the crowd to the drinks, toss out 
his loose silver, the leaden bullet and string rolling out on the counter or 
bar. This was the invitation for others to make themselves known. Some 
of Rattlesnake Dick's more polite crowd also acted with the more reckless 
Tom Bell gang. 

Finally a Jewish peddler named Rosenthal was murdered near the 
Phillips tavern. Sheriff Paul, of Calaveras County, was very active, and 
finally a Mexican told of the bullet and string signal. Sheriff Paul went 
to the hotel and, showing the signal, was accepted as a member and stayed 
all night at the place, learning conclusively that Phillips harbored the 
roughest gentry of the road. He left next morning, but returned in a week 
with a posse. Phillips and two other men were arrested, tried and convicted 
for harboring highway robbers, and got State prison for punishment. 

Bell continued to flourish for a time, but suddenly dropped from view. 
Some say that he left Placer County ; others claim that he was killed about 
1856 by Placer County officers on the Folsom road, near the old Franklin 
House. The story runs as follows : On a dark night, the officers having 
before learned that Tom Bell and a small party of his confederates were 
moving towards Auburn, the sheriff's party, among whom were John 
Boggs and Deputy Sheriff B. F. Moore, proceeded south, the two parties 
meeting near the Franklin House. The Tom Bell party had sacks tied 
over their horses' feet, and moved very quietly when being passed; but 
they were hailed, and the shooting began. Ned Conway, of Tom Bell's 
gang, was killed. Next day, when it was proposed to bury Conway with- 
out much extra ceremony, considering his calling and odius reputation, a 
prominent citizen of Horseshoe Bar, James Smyth, whose father-in-law had 
known the parents of Ned Conway in New Orleans, where -they were 
recognized as very respectable citizens, asked permission of the officers to 
allow him, out of respect to Conway's father and mother, to bury him 
quietly. The request was granted, a grave was dug under a big live-oak 
tree, not far from the Franklin House, near the road, and there Ned Conway 
received a rather decent burial. The Tom Bell gang soon scattered, and 
the leader was never seen after the battle. 

From a diary kept by the Smyth family, we learn some additional 
details concerning Tom Bell, Ned Conway, and the Rosenthal murder, 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 253 

which conflict in minor respects with the account as given above. Tom 
Bell, who is spoken of as an attractive-looking young man, visited their 
store, posing as a cattle-man. He and his men were always agreeable, 
even sociable. Air. Smyth had an excellent violin and could play it very 
well. Tom Bell revealed the fact that he was musically inclined, and on 
being asked to play the old violin, soon demonstrated the fact that he was 
a real violinist; during his week's stay he played upon it nearly every 
evening. It was toward the end of the week that the Jew peddler, Rosen- 
thal, came along with his pack. Airs. Smyth bought a few articles from 
him and handed him a ten-dollar gold piece in payment. In making change 
Rosenthal pulled out a long purse and was rather reckless in the display 
of his money. Not knowing that Tom Bell was present, Mrs. Smyth asked 
him if he was not afraid of Tom Bell's gang, to which he replied : "Tom Bell 
would nut hurt an old man like me." Finding that Rosenthal had about 
$4000 in cash with him, Tom Bell and his chief lieutenant Ned Conway, 
waylaid him and took all his money, his horse, and his goods, bound him 
hand and foot to a tree in the lonely forest, and left him to starve. When 
they had gone on their way a distance, Tom Bell felt that it was too cruel 
and too dangerous to leave the old man to suffer death by starvation, and 
ordered Ned Conway, his accomplice, to go back and shoot him, saying that 
"dead men tell no tales." This Conway refused to do, wdiereupon Bell 
said: "I have a notion to shoot you for disobeying orders!" To this Con- 
way replied that he expected to get it some day anyway, and it might as 
well be now. Thereupon Bell went back and shot the man himself. This 
was brought out in the testimony of Jack Phillips, who kept the old Moun- 
taineer House, and who had joined Bell's gang, but turned State's evidence 
after his arrest. At the time of the capture, Ned Conway fell dead, shot 
through the breast by a member of Sheriff Johnston's posse. Jack Phillips 
served his sentence at San Quentin : but Tom Bell got away, and as far 
as is known was never apprehended in Placer County, but was finally 
caught and lynched below Stockton. 

There has been much speculation as to why Tom Bell and his gang 
never robbed Smyth's store. It is thought that it was for the reason that 
Ned Conway came from a very respectable family in New Orleans, who 
were acquainted with Capt. Robert Capson, the father of Mrs. J. W. Smyth ; 
and that as Xed Conway knew of this relationship, the Smyth family was 
spared. On identifying the body of the dead bandit as Ned Conway, whom 
he had known in Louisiana, Captain Capson asked the coroner for leave 
to give him a Christian burial. This he was permitted to do; and Ned 
Conway's body was wrapped in a blanket and placed in a coffin made out 
of rough boards, and interred near the place of the crime, under a big 
pine tree. 

A Brutal Triple Murder by Chinese 
On September 15, 1876, on the old Ryan ranch, II. X. Sargenl and his 
employees, Mr. and Mrs. Xavier D. Oder, were brutally murdered by China- 
men led by a well-informed cook named Ah Sam. Mr. Sargent a few days 
before had sold the men a mining claim for $120, and the supposed motive 
for the murder was the desire to recover the money. Mr. Sargent was 
decoyed out of the house, and half a mile away was shot >i\ times, lie 
revived sufficiently to say how he was injured, however, and thai Ah Sam 



254 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

was the leader. The Chinamen evidently killed Mr. and Mrs. Oder after 
shooting Sargent. 

The citizens arose en masse ; meetings were called ; committees were 
appointed ; and Chinamen were ordered to leave the towns of Roseville, 
Rocklin, Loomis (formerly called Pino), Penryn, and the country towards 
Folsom and the American River. A number of Chinamen were arrested, 
but Ah Sam escaped. 

John C. Boggs, then residing in Penryn, was at that time still hunting 
for criminals, and was a special detective for the railroad company. His 
Chinese cook agreed, if he were not driven out of the county, to aid Mr. 
Boggs in hunting for the murderers, especially Ah Sam. It was later 
determined that Ah Sam was in Plumas County, and about February 1, 
1877, Boggs went into that county. Chinamen evidently notified Ah Sam, 
as he moved away from Greenville, where he had stopped, to a distance 
of twenty-five miles, where he applied to Ira Wentworth for food and 
shelter. He was given food only. Ah Sam's feet were frozen. Meantime 
Mr. Boggs had returned home. 

Mr. Wentworth notified the miners of Rich Bar, on the Feather River; 
and they determined to capture the Chinaman. Two young miners followed 
him, and found him well intrenched among some rocks, and armed. As- 
sistance was sent for, and when the Chinaman saw resistance was useless, 
he told the men in good English that he would kill himself before being 
taken, and immediately shot himself. He lived two days, but would make 
no explanation. The Chinaman's body was packed in snow and brought 
to Auburn via Reno. 

Many witnesses before the coroner's jury positively identified the dead 
Chinaman as Ah Sam. The body was offered to the Chinese for burial ; 
but they refused to even bury him, and the coroner was compelled to bury 
the body near, but not in, the Chinese burying ground. The fiend had 
caused many decent, well-behaved Chinamen sorrow and misery, and semi- 
forced emigration. 

This crime resulted in a renewal of the writer's acquaintance with an 
old schoolmate from back in Springville, Iowa, Thomas J. Stentz, one of 
the two who brought Sam's body to Auburn. 

A Vicious Murder by Indians 

Another foul murder was committed in the fall of 1877 on the Forest 
Hill road, in daylight, by two vicious Indians, Indian Charley and Indian 
Bill. They murdered a man by the name of John Norton. Robbery was 
their first intention. They demanded his money; Norton denied having any 
and started to run. Indian Charley shot him in the shoulder ; then Indian 
Bill fired and Norton fell, and the Indians finished with their knives, cutting 
Norton's hands viciously. Another man coming along the road scared the 
Indians, who fled into the brush. 

Sheriff McCormick caught Indian Charley about ten miles from Auburn, 
near the American River. About two months later Indian Bill was caught 
near Bottle Hill, in the vicinity of Georgetown, Eldorado County. When 
the sheriff located his man, it was on the last day of his term of office; but 
sleuth-like, he determined to bring him in, and sent two deputies for the 
purpose, one being his son. The Indian began to shoot from the cabin 
where he was found. He could have been killed ; but the deputies wanted 
to take him home alive, and so they began to fire the cabin, in order to drive 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 255 

the Indian out. This forced him into the open, where he fought desperately 
until overpowered. 

This capture allowed Sheriff McCormick to turn over to his successor 
next day five murderers recently gathered in, and all locked in a good steel 
jail — a good record. 

A Train-Wrecking of the Early Eighties 

Train-wrecking with intent to rob the express or mail cars, and with 
the incidental intention of demanding the loose change and jewelry from 
the passengers, is but a modern variation of early-day stage-robbery. The 
calamitous results liable to follow the wrecking of a train caused the legis- 
lature, soon after the first important train-wrecking case, to make the 
offense a felony punishable with death or by imprisonment in the State 
prison for life. Train-wrecking has since become quite common in Cali- 
fornia, and equally so in the East. It is more dastardly than the old- 
fashioned stage-robbery. Now, a hundred sleeping, innocent passengers 
may be killed before the real attack or robbery takes place. 

The writer as district attorney of Placer Count}- presented a case of 
attempted train robbery in our superior court in 1881. An attempt, through 
a supposedly well-laid plan, to rob the express car on the overland pass- 
enger train was made on that train on the night of September 1, 1881 ; but 
no money was obtained and happily no one was injured. The robbers tore 
up the outer rail on a slight curve, so that the passenger train going east 
ran off the track at a place called Cape Horn Mills, above Colfax. The 
clerk of the mail car was ordered to throw up his hands, and a mild attempt 
was also made on the express car. The doors of both cars were closed and 
the lights put out ; but no further attempt at robbery was made. Fright 
seemed to seize the robbers. John Mason, who turned State's evidence, 
testified for the people during the trials. There were five trials. Some of 
them lasted twenty-four days ; and Ed Steinegal and George H. Shinn were 
convicted and sent to State prison. The robbers all. including Mason, said 
that the word was passed along that soldiers were seen getting off one 
of the passenger cars, and as the largest and supposedly the bravest train- 
wrecker was the first to desert, the remaining four thought best to follow. 
They left nine masks, a lot of giant powder cartridges and fuse, axes, 
sledges, and all necessary battering-ram material supposed to be necessarv 
in a well-ordered robbery and safe-opening job. 

The Colfax telegraph office was soon reached by a runner, and a wreck- 
ing-train put the derailed engine and mail, express, and baggage cars, and 
one fruit car, back on the track ; and the train proceeded. 

Ex-captain Stone, of the San Francisco police, and Mr. Burk. the chief 
railroad detective, were soon actively at work aiding Sheriff Boggs in 
scouring the county in search of the law-breakers. They began searching 
near at home for non-expert robbers — men who might know something 
about giant powder. They soon found three or four men down on the 
North Fork of the American River living in a cabin between ('.old Run 
and Iowa Hill. One of these, Ed Steinegal. was raised in Cold Run; 
another, Reuben Rogers, had also lived there, and was a relative oi i 
prominent citizen of that town. They were all more or less familiar with 
mining, but they had no mine to work and no tools with which to work. 
A few strong hints pointed towards them, and all but Shinn were arrested 
on September 11 ; and Shinn was captured on October 27. 



256 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

The district attorney was assisted by the local railroad attorney, E. L. 
Craig, who later became the head attorney for the railroad company and 
settled in San Francisco. Wells & Fargo's Express Company also employed 
a local attorney to assist in the prosecution, John M. Fuhveiler. The 
defendants were ably cared for by two old pioneers of the county, Gen. 
Jo. Hamilton and Charles A. Tuttle. 

The main efforts of the defense seemed to center around Reuben A. 
Rogers. A pretty stiff, alibi was invoked in his behalf, members of his 
family testifying that he was in bed in Gold Run when the train was 
wrecked ; but Mason, the State's witness, who was one of the train-wreckers, 
testified that all five were present. Steinegal, who was later convicted and 
sent to State prison, later made a full confession of the attempted robbery 
to Detective Burk and the district attorney at the State prison, and offered 
to come up to the next trial and swear that the five accused parties did the 
wrecking of the train. George H. Shinn also, while in the State prison, 
admitted that Rogers and Frazier helped do the work. 

As the last trial was about to begin, an order was made by the judge 
that Steinegal should be produced as a witness. Boggs, the sheriff, went 
after Steinegal. The State Fair was in session, and many passengers came 
home to Auburn from Sacramento the same evening. Steinegal was hand- 
cuffed and was walking in front of Boggs and his son, a deputy sheriff. 
Two young women, Warmington by name, were ahead of Steinegal. When 
opposite the court-house gate, Boggs ordered Steinegal to turn to the right 
and into the gate. Instead, he darted around and in front of the two girls 
and then down a dark alley to the left. Boggs was slow in shooting, and 
the prisoner got away. His handcuffs were found, filed or broken off, about 
six miles northwest of Auburn, a few days afterwards. Steinegal was never 
seen afterwards in Placer County. An old schoolmate of his at Gold Run, 
who was a conductor on a freight train, claims that while running on the 
Mexican railroad, he saw Steinegal one evening in the city of Chihuahua 
and called to him, "Hello, Ed," whereupon Steinegal immediately pulled 
his hat down over his eyes and turned into a side street. 

The loss of Steinegal as a witness greatly weakened the prosecution 
and aided the alibi claim ; and other reasons aided in the acquittal. This 
was the fifth trial, several of which had covered over twenty days. The 
trials were expensive. Furthermore, it began to be rumored that it was a 
case of railroad persecution. Besides the railroad had refused to pay its 
taxes to Placer County for a number of years ; and at that time was owing, 
according to the assessor's books, if collected in full, about $90,000. 

Hidden Mystery of a Well 

During the train-wrecking excitement another revolting murder, as was 
charged, came before the people of the county. This time the excitement 
was centered around Lincoln, down on the plains. Some of the facts de- 
veloped were as follows : 

Ambrose S. Niles came to California in 1859 from Wisconsin; and a 
friend of his, James Singleton, came with him from the same State. Niles 
located on some land west of Lincoln, and Singleton worked for him for 
wages. Niles seemed to prosper in his farming operations, and generally 
was regarded as a prominent citizen. Singleton saved his wages and also 
seemed to prosper. Some of Singleton's wages were evidenced by notes 
from Niles, and finally Niles' indebtedness became quite large to Singleton, 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 257 

who was quite a favorite in and about Lincoln. After several years' work 
on the Niles farm. Singleton hunted other work and went to the State of 
Nevada. In about a year he returned to Lincoln, and then went to Sacra- 
mento and Oakland. He worked at the livery business as his last calling. 

About Thanksgiving time, 1876, Singleton came back to Lincoln to 
visit his friends and, it was learned later, to try and get his money from 
Niles. He rode out to Niles' place a day or so later. He and Niles went 
to Sheridan with a team, and from that day no one had seen him again. 
Friends of his in Lincoln asked Niles where he had gone. Niles' answer 
was that he had gone to Marysville on the cars from Sheridan the day both 
of them were there. Even then thoughts of foul play entered the minds 
of some, but nothing openly was said, as Niles' reputation was good. 

It was learned, however, that the hired man of Niles (one Ropp) had 
filled up an old well at the request of Niles the day after the trip to 
Sheridan. Niles was asked why the well had been filled, but the answers 
were evasive and unsatisfactory. Suspicions grew, and finally Niles sold 
the ranch. 

Neighbors would often meet near the old filled-up well and express 
a desire to see the bottom of it. Thomas Brown, who for a long time had 
believed that the old well should be examined, on going to Sacramento 
learned that Niles had tried to negotiate the sale of a note due Singleton 
from another party. The neighbors then hesitated no longer, but by com- 
mon consent agreed to insist, and continue to insist until the bottom of the 
well was cleaned out. The coroner was asked to open the well ; but as 
he had no public money to expend in opening old wells, the district attorney 
finally suggested that a subscription be taken up in the neighborhood and 
the work be done at private expense. 

Prompt action was taken, and the citizens dug till they found boards 
laid in order as if for a floor. Some were then ready for stopping work, 
but the others persisted. Next they found over two feet of earth, and then 
sticks and trash. Soon another floor was reached, and on removing this 
floor they were rewarded by finding the body of Singleton. 

Great excitement prevailed in Lincoln. The coroner and district at- 
torney were notified ; and an all-night guard was placed at the well. The 
coroner and other officers came the next day. A coroner's inquest was 
held ; and the body was identified as that of James Singleton, a shoemaker 
identifying his boots, and a dentist certain filled teeth. The substance of 
the verdict was that Singleton came to his death about the middle of 
November, 1876, by the blow of a deadly weapon on his head, inflicted by 
the hand of one A. S. Niles, according to their best information and belief. 
This was dated September 17, 1881. 

Sheriff Boggs and Constable Hotchkiss of Lincoln were soon out on 
the trail of Niles, who was out selling patent beds. It was learned that 
he had that day passed through Wheatland, in Yuba County. Thomas 
Bevan, a deputy sheriff of that county, learning of the search, followed 
Niles and arrested him five miles from "Wheatland on the road to the moun- 
tains. Niles asked on what charge he was arrested, and when told turned 
deathly pale and completely broke down. The horrible secret of five long 
years was out, and he stood as an accused murderer. 

The officers of Placer County took charge of Niles, and he was soon 
in the county jail. He admitted that the body found was that of Singleton. 



258 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

and confessed that he threw it into the well. He denied that he slew him, 
however, but said that as they were driving home from Sheridan they got 
into a dispute over religious matters and a scuffle followed ; Singleton struck 
him, and while he was defending himself the horses became frightened and 
ran away, throwing both of them out and stunning Niles ; and that the 
wheels of the wagon passed over Singleton's head, smashing his skull. 
He claimed that when he examined Singleton he found he was dead, and 
fearing that he would not be believed in stating how the accident happened, 
decided to throw the body into the near-by old well and fill it up, thereby 
saving himself trouble and the county expense. It was recalled by some 
of the witnesses at the inquest that the wagon track leading from Sheridan 
toward Niles' home, after passing through the gate or bars, turned out of 
the road and went out to one side, past the old well. 

Niles was in jail only about a week when he committed suicide. John 
Mason, the State's witness in the train-wrecking case, occupied a cell in the 
jail across the alley from Niles. A pocket-knife was borrowed from Mason 
for the pretended purpose of cutting tobacco. Niles was heard whetting 
it over the stones of his cell until it became very sharp. He then ended his 
miserable life. It was about midnight. One of the prisoners was awake 
and reading. He heard Niles groan, and he asked him if he were sick. 
Niles replied, "Yes, but not much." His husky voice betrayed him. The 
sheriff was given the alarm and a doctor was brought in ; but Niles lived 
only a short time. He had written a letter to his wife, denying his guilt. 
The fact of his self-destruction was generally regarded as evidence that he 
was guilty of slaying Singleton, however, and that he felt sure of a con- 
viction and severe punishment. 

Niles came of a good family, one brother being a doctor in Roseville, 
near Lincoln. He had another brother, who was also well respected. Much 
sympathy was expressed for his wife and family ; but as for Niles, the 
general opinion was that a wicked life had been self-extinguished. Niles 
was buried in Auburn. 



HISTORY ()F PLACER COUNTY 259 



CHAPTER XIV 

BENCH AND BAR OF PLACER COUNTY 

The writer once heard Frank Page, Member of Congress, with local 
residence at Placerville, remark that Placer County once had a "rattling 
good bar." This expression was made in a complimentary sense, and 
referred to the days when some of the attorneys, then getting old, were 
younger and in their prime, and when others of early days, who are now 
gone, still lingered. Most of the early-day attorneys were at first miners, 
and then miners and attorneys, and later gave all their time to their pro- 
fession, when the county became settled with steady, permanent mining, 
farming, and business people. 

In 1849 Gordon N. Mott and P. \Y. Thomas were lawyers at Auburn; 
but their chief occupation was mining. Auburn was then in Sutter County. 
"We next hear of them in 1850, when Mott was count) 7 judge, and Thomas 
was a justice of the peace, and one of the associate judges of the Court 
of Sessions with County Judge Mott, who opened court at the paper town 
of Oro, in Sutter County, on the Bear River, on June 10, 1850. Next year, 
when the county seat was moved to Auburn, Thomas settled in Auburn 
permanently. Mott remained in Auburn till 1853 and then removed to 
Marysville. He was afterwards one of the judges in Nevada Territory, and 
later a member of Congress from that Territory. Thomas served his county 
as district attorney for two terms, from 1853 to 1855 and from 1857 to 1861. 

P. \Y. Thomas was a native of Maryland. He was very quick-tem- 
pered; and in 1854. in a duel, he killed Dr. Dickson, formerly of Mississippi, 
a finely educated gentleman. This sad affair clouded the remainder of his 
life. He afterwards was elected Senator, but died in Auburn later, a 
discouraged man. 

The legal advertisements in the Herald and other county papers include 
the names of many early-day lawyers, and among them J. S. and J. Christy, 
Otis L. Bridges, H. O. Ryerson, and R. D. Hopkins. All began their legal 
work in Auburn in 1850. The last-named was the first district attorney, 
and was from Maryland. 

( His L. Bridges, before coming to California, was attorney-general 
of the State of Maine, and loved to brag about it. He left Auburn in 1852. 

H. O. Ryerson began in Auburn in 1850. He came from New Jersey, 
and returned to that State in 1855. His brother was one of the supreme 
judges of that State. 

Hugh Fitzsimmons came to Auburn in 1850, and next year was elected 
our first county judge. He later moved to Forest Hill and practiced law. 

Charles A. Tuttle was born in Genesee County, X. Y. After receiving 
a good education he moved to Wisconsin and began his law practice in 
Milwaukee. He started for California via Independence. Mo., in April. 
1849. and on July 8 of the same year reached [llinoistown by the Plains 
route. His first mining was done at Barnes' liar, on the North Fork oi 
the American River. At Stony Bar, on the same river, in February, 1852, 



260 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

he tried his first case before a miners' jury. In 1853, as a Democrat, he 
was elected to the State Senate. In 1855 he became a Republican, and in 
1856 he canvassed Northern California for Fremont. In 1856 he formed a 
partnership with C. J. Hillyer, which continued until Mr. Hillyer was 
appointed a Federal judge for the Territory of Nevada in 1863. In 1860 he 
was elected as one of the electors- on the Republican ticket, and voted for 
Abraham Lincoln for President. In 1863 he was appointed reporter to the 
Supreme Court ; he held the position for four years and then resigned. In 
the fall of 1867 he was elected to the legislature again. In 1871 he was 
appointed by Governor Haight as one of the revisers of the work of the 
code commissioners. In 1873 he was again appointed reporter of the 
Supreme Court decisions, and continued until 1878, publishing thirteen 
volumes. Mr. Tuttle removed to Oakland in 1868, but returned to Auburn 
in 1877, where he continued in practice until his death, which took place 
in that city. 

Mr. Tuttle had a literary bent of mind, and was a studious reader of 
the best English literature. Often, when arguing before a court or jury, 
he would quote from Walter Scott and other noted writers some apt 
language breathing liberty, independence, justice or virtue. He and Craig 
were charming speakers to listen to. Tuttle, Hale, Craig, Hamilton, and 
John M. Fulweiler were generally ranged on opposing sides in the not 
infrequent mining suits from the Forest Hill Divide. During those long 
trials it was the part of wisdom for young attorneys to stick closely to their 
offices, in order to pick up matters of business that needed prompt attention, 
the Nestors of the Bar being otherwise engaged, often for weeks at a time. 
These big mining suits were noted events ; and it was a real oratorical treat 
to listen to the closing arguments. 

Benjamin M. Myres settled in Auburn in 1851. His advertisement 
appeared regularly in the Herald as attorney-at-law after it started in 1852. 
He served as district judge from 1859 to 1864, and as superior judge from 
1880 to 1891. The writer's earliest recollections of Judge Myres center 
around his method of disposing of legal questions. With his feet elevated 
on a desk or table, almost sitting on his back, he first would examine the 
constitution of California, and the codes of the State, and would then 
conclude with due deliberation what the law in the particular case was — or 
ought to be. He did not seem to care much for the decisions of the Supreme 
Court, calling them honest guesses as to what- the law was. Once, at the 
close of an important mining case, after he had rendered his decision, he 
suggested to the losing attorneys that they might appeal to the Supreme 
Court ; that he had given the case his most earnest consideration, and had 
announced his best guess ; but that the Supreme Court of the State might 
guess differently. He once told the writer what he called "the meanest 
thing" he had ever done, a thing which, however, did not seem a very 
serious offense in a young lawyer who was very anxious to go to California 
before others had mined all the gold, but who found money hard to get for 
the trip. He lived in Wheeling, which was then in Virginia. A client, 
twenty miles out in the country, owed him twenty dollars but did not 
respond to his dunning letters. He had one more justice's case to try ; so 
he put the tardy debtor's name on the subpoena and had the Wheeling 
constable serve him. The debtor obeyed the subpoena, but told the young 
lawyer he knew nothing about the case, and asked why he was sent for. 
Thereupon he was informed that while he might not be a good witness 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 261 

in the case, he owed the lawyer who sent for him twenty dollars, and he 
wanted it, and had to have it. Judge Myres said he got the money, and 
that it was "the meanest thing" he had ever done. Judge Myres had a 
keen, analytical mind, and his legal "guesses" gave general satisfaction. 
He died in Auburn on December 26, 1902. 

James Ellery Hale first settled in Millertown in 1850, but went to 
Yankee Jims in 1851, his advertisement appearing as an attorney-at-law, 
either alone or with a partner, as late as 1853. His legal advertisement 
shows R. D. Hopkins, district attorney, of Auburn, as his partner ; but a 
year later he appears in Auburn with H. O. Ryerson as a partner, and asso- 
ciated with M. E. Mills, of Yankee Jims. Hale was one of Placer County's 
first-class lawyers. He was well-read, and seemed to take pleasure in 
thoroughly mastering every case on which he was engaged. On the bench 
he was calm and deliberative. He was elected our second county judge, 
serving from 1855 to 1859. John Boggs informed the writer that for some 
reason, financial independence on Hale's part or otherwise, the judge did 
not draw any of his salary until the close of the term, when he received his 
four years' salary at one time. 

In politics Hale was a Whig, and later a Republican for the rest of 
his life. In 1863 he was elected to the State Senate, serving four years. 
Governor Lowe, in 1867, appointed him to the position of reporter of the 
Supreme Court, which position he held for several years. He had been 
preceded as reporter by C. A. Tuttle, and was closely followed by Mr. Tuttle 
again ; and it must have looked to other county aspirants as if this was a 
predetermined Placer County position. The reports during their incum- 
bency are counted as among the best of that busy court. He was elected 
as one of the Presidential electors in 1872, and was chosen to carry the vote 
to Washington. 

A strong defender of the Union and a champion for the constitution 
of his own State, Hale was a valuable member of the constitutional conven- 
tion of 1880, which was in session 157 days. He was a member of the 
Assembly in 1880, and aided greatly in putting a proper construction on 
the provisions of the new constitution. 

Judge Hale was fortunate during many years of his old age to have 
E. L. Craig as a law partner. The two supplemented each other well as 
working partners, producing excellent legal results. 

As showing the judge's great industry, mention should be made of his 
efforts to recover from the Federal government the value of the moneys 
and supplies furnished by California in aid of suppressing the Rebellion. 
Governor Stanford, while in office, had appointed Judge Hale and Thomas 
Xosler as agents of the State to prepare the proofs and data to aid in such 
collection, and the written appointment awarded said agents twenty-five per 
cent of all moneys received by the State from the government in the matter. 
Though much labor and expense were incurred, and several trips to Wash- 
ington on the matter were necessitated, both agents died without receiving 
any compensation for their labors. However, when Governor Pardee was 
in office, the writer succeeded in basing passed and signed a bill awarding 
to Hale and XY.sler. or to their heirs, $50,000 out of the first $200,000 
received from the general government by California in the matter of the 
A\ ar Claims. 

Judge Hale died in Auburn. Eater the writer bought of the widow 
the judge's desk, and found three articles of interest in a drawer. One of 



262 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

these, a Directory and History of Nevada County, issued in 1856, was 
presented to the judge by A. A. Sargent, the author, afterwards minister 
to Germany. Next, there were several shares of stock in the Sacramento, 
Placer & Nevada Railroad Company, the certificates being in blank, except 
that the president's name, I. E. Hale, was signed to each, and also one share 
of the Bear River and Auburn Water & Mining Company's stock, dated 
1852. The other article found was a statement written in Judge Hale's own 
hand, explaining that he had made an erroneous ruling in a certain Republi- 
can convention while acting as chairman of the convention ; that it was a 
hast}-, unintentional ruling on his part, which resulted in the defeat of his 
friend ; that his legislative experience had taught him the true ruling to 
make under similar conditions, but that the noise and confusion of the 
convention, and his surprise, led to the erroneous ruling. It was an honest 
statement years after the occurrence happened, showing Judge Hale's deep- 
seated honesty and his keen regret that any man should be harmed through 
his mistakes. 

C. J. Hillyer located at Yankee Jims about 1852, but later moved to 
Iowa Hill. Lawyers Mills, Hale, Hillyer and Tuttle were the leading attor- 
neys for the divide for several years. Many important mining suits were 
carried through the courts by them. A friend of the writer, who went to 
Yankee Jims on June 1, 1857, was well acquainted with C. J. Hillyer. She 
says that after Mr. Hillyer had moved to Washington, D. C, as his per- 
manent home, he told her that Col. William McClure was such a fine 
arbitrator among the miners that he was often called upon to settle disputes 
over water rights and mining rights, and so often was this plan pursued 
that young lawyers had few clients; so he, as one of them, left Yankee Jims 
and located at Iowa Hill. Mr. Hillyer was a great mining lawyer. He died 
at AYashington. D. C. 

M. E. Mills located in Yankee Jims in 1852. Mills was our third 
district attorney, serving from 1855 to 1857. He died in Auburn, October 
24, 1862, a victim of hard drinking. Hillyer and Mills were partners at 
Yankee Jims in 1854. 

About this time these able men began moving to Auburn, the county 
seat. A Supreme Court decision limited the jurisdiction of the justice's 
court, throwing most of the important business into the district court. 
Now, for a time. Frank Page's comment would truly apply. Placer County 
had a "rattling good bar." Hale, Mills and Hillyer were added to Myres, 
Thomas, Tuttle and others. But there were vacations from active practice. 
Hale became the second count)- judge in 1854, holding until 1859. Myres 
went on the bench as district judge in 1859. 

To show how outside attorneys valued Placer County as a field of 
practice, mention may lie made of a copartnership advertised in March, 
1856, that of E. B. Crocker, of Sacramento, and C. W. Langdon, of Auburn, 
who became associated as partners for practice in the district court. 

Jo. Hamilton may be called a late pioneer attorney of Placer County. 
He first began practice at Yankee Jims in 1858 and in Auburn soon after. 
He was elected district attorney in 1860 and again in 1862, serving through 
1864. He was elected attorney-general of the State in 1871 and reelected 
in 1875. General Hamilton became one of the leading Democrats of the 
State, and was also numbered as one of the ablest lawyers in California. 
He had branch offices and partners in other county seats, especially at 
Oroville, Colusa and Sacramento. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 263 

The General was in great demand when his party needed a speaker 
who was pleasant and a good story-teller. It is said he was very careful 
not to offend during the period of, and after, the Civil War. At Forest 
Hill, during the war, he could make a tolerably good Republican speech, 
and at Lincoln it sounded like a good old comforting Democratic speech. 
So, on one occasion, the Republican leaders persuaded the old Union news- 
paper of Sacramento to send a reporter to Lincoln and Forest Hill and 
take down and transcribe his speech at both places. This was done, and 
the two speeches were published in adjoining columns in the Union. Many 
prophesied this would be the undoing of "Uncle Jo," but his explanation 
was kindly and sympathetic, and something like this, that he believed in 
kindness and good cheer for all; that the slight difference in the two 
speeches was only his desire to carry the good news to his friends in each 
town ; and that as most of the New England Republicans were at Forest 
Hill, he brought to them the best home news and cheered them the best 
he could : while at Lincoln, where the Missouri and Kentucky boys lived, 
he did the best he could to give them the news and good cheer from home. 
The explanation seemed to please all, and he got his regular majority. 

General Hamilton had the wonderful faculty of making friends of his 
political opponents. He and George C. Perkins were warm friends. When 
Perkins was asking for the position of United States Senator from Cali- 
fornia, on one occasion he lacked only one- vote of an election. Dr. Noble 
Martin, of Dutch Flat, was Senator from Placer County. General Hamilton 
sent for the Senator and put the matter to him in this manner : That both 
were generally strong partisans ; the Senator had consistently, but hope- 
lessly, voted for a Democratic candidate who had no chance ; that Placer 
County was strongly Republican ; they had complimented the "Old Bald 
Eagle" with their votes and elected him ; that he had done his duty as a 
Democrat — and now why not elect the General's friend, Perkins, when he 
needed only one vote? The Senator was asked to rise in the chamber on 
the next ballot, make an explanation along the above lines, and cast the 
final electing vote for ex-Governor Perkins. Dr. Martin cast his vote for 
Mr. Perkins, and the latter was declared elected. Both General Hamilton 
and Senator Perkins related the story to the writer, and it stands as one of 
the pleasant political cross-fire favors of California politics. 

It is an accepted fact that W. H. L. Barnes, a stanch Republican, is 
given the credit of electing Senator McDougal. a strong Democrat, as one 
of the early-day United States Senators. At one closely contested election 
McDougal was a candidate, but could not command enough votes. General 
Barnes labored hard for his personal friend, and finally he was bantered 
with the suggestion that he get up on a table in the Golden Eagle Hotel 
and make as good a Democratic speech as he could, and show reasons why 
his friend, McDougal, should be elected. He took the banter, mounted the 
table, and. it is said, made a wonderful speech from a Jeffersonian stand- 
point. The delegates kept their words, and next day McDougal was elected. 

The Dr. Martin Senatorial vote was not forgotten. It was bread on 
the political waters for General Hamilton, and his brother's family, espe- 
cially Mrs. Dr. Hamilton, of Wheatland. Yuba County; tor after the death 
of I )r. Hamilton his widow secured the Wheatland post office. When Un- 
political parties changed positions, the postmistress of Wheatland was ex- 
pected to drop out of office. The Republican Central Committee of that 
county presented the name of a good, hungry Republican and asked for the 



264 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

spoils of victory, but Mrs. Hamilton held the position for another four 
years. When another four years rolled around, again a strong Republican 
was endorsed ; but still the lady postmistress of Wheatland held the posi- 
tion. It took several years to repay General Hamilton for the vote of the 
old Democratic "Bald Eagle," Dr. Martin, when just one vote was so 
necessary to the election of Governor Perkins as United States Senator 
from California. 

General Hamilton's most violent objurgation or cuss-word used to or 
against an enemy, or one he disliked, was a "bad" man. The degree of 
veniality the man was supposed to have was expressed by the carefully 
graduated way the term was emphasized and strung out ; a "ba-a-a-ad" 
man was very bad indeed. 

The General told the writer that in over forty years as an attorney 
he had never brought an action for divorce. He disliked the modern divorce 
suit very much. His open Southern hospitality was charming. For the 
last five years of his life he was a bed-ridden invalid, but with his powers 
of conversation unimpaired. His earning capacity was cut off. To pay off 
a bank indebtedness he offered to convey a large lot adjoining the home 
place. He prepared the deed himself, and he and his loving, faithful wife 
executed the instrument ; but by mistake he had conveyed away his home- 
stead and old home, "The Pines." Advantage might have been taken of 
the feeble old man ; but when the error was discovered, it was rectified. 

E. L. Craig was from Kentucky. Well educated, he was of a charming 
disposition, though clear, quick and incisive before the court and jury. He 
could grasp and present to the Supreme Court the important facts of a case 
in a lucid, convincing manner. He formed a partnership with C. A. Tweed 
in 1864, served Placer County as district attorney from 1866 to 1870, and 
soon afterwards went into partnership with J. E. Hale. Craig succeeded 
Creed Haymond as general attorney and counsel for the Southern Pacific 
Railroad Company. He and his partner had been local attorneys for the 
railroad company for many years. He served the railroad acceptably until 
his death. Craig was a great hunter, and always had the best hunting 
dogs and the best and latest-model choke-bore shotguns in the market. 
His widow and one daughter now live in San Francisco. 

C. A. Tweed was a well-read lawyer who practiced in early days in 
Dutch Flat. In 1864 he was elected district attorney, serving two years. 
He was partner with E. L. Craig at Auburn for a time, until President 
Lincoln appointed him one of the Territorial judges of Arizona. 

W. H. Bullock was a well-read lawyer from Massachusetts. He came 
to California in 1851 and began his practice in Michigan Bluff in 1856. He 
later moved to Auburn and was district attorney of the county from 1876 
to 1880. He was a safe, economical officer for the county, but unfortunately, 
during his later life, was an addict to narcotics. 

W. H. Norton came to Auburn from Lincoln. He was a fine speaker, 
and by some was called "Spread-eagle" Norton. He went to the State 
Senate from Placer County in the twenty-second session. Mr. Norton came 
to this State from Wisconsin. For a time he was partner with W. H. Bullock. 

W. H. H. Fellows began his legal career in Auburn in 1863, and was 
district attorney from 1870 to 1872. He had a clear legal mind and was 
very popular with the people, but died a comparatively young man, from 
intemperance. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 265 

John M. Fulweiler, after four years as district attorney, in 1876 settled 
down to practice in Auburn. He came from Dutch Flat. He was a most 
persistent worker and delver among his law books, and made up in that 
way for a defective education. He had a wonderfully accurate memory for 
dates and facts, and was quite successful in his practice. His greatest 
drawback was a peppery disposition and a very sarcastic mode of speech. 
He had been considerably embittered in life by numerous defeats in politics, 
several times by very narrow margins of votes. He often made enemies, 
who were very unforgiving. But nevertheless Fulweiler had traits that 
were commendable. He was true to his political party and friends, sub- 
scribed liberally to all worthy matters, and had a kind heart towards the 
infirm and needy. He especially loved children ; and had he been a father, 
his sharp manner of speech no doubt would have been more kindly. The 
writer at one time served as secretary to a "Home-finding Society" covering 
much of this State. Mr. Fulweiler was the president, and his annual 
subscriptions to the funds of the parent society were very generous. The 
local society found many homes for unfortunate children, sent out by the 
parent society, and gathered together several foundlings, motherless boys 
and girls, and placed them for a time with the larger society. His kindness 
of heart for children covered a multitude of shortcomings in temper and 
disposition. 

J. T. Kinkade was an elderly practitioner in the early eighties. He 
came from Virginia in early days, and was for several terms school super- 
intendent of Placer County. 

W. A. Hughes was an ex-preacher who turned lawyer about 1880. He 
showed excellent good sense in locating as government land 160 acres on 
the brow of the hills overlooking the American River, adjoining Auburn, 
which lands are now owned and improved into beautiful, sightly homes. 
His next and best showing of good judgment he displayed in marrying a 
most charming ex-school-teacher. Mr. and Mrs. Hughes moved from Au- 
burn many years ago. 

J. E. Prewett was born in Sacramento County in 1851 and followed 
school-teaching in his young manhood. He began reading law while teach- 
ing, and was admitted to practice on November 25, 1874. He married Miss 
Emma Jane Crow, of Ripon, Cal., and moved to Dutch Flat with his wife 
and two children, mainly for reasons of a healthful climate, in the year 
1879. Prewett never seemed to be a strong and robust man, but had an 
indefatigable purpose and will-power to master the law as a profession. He 
practiced his profession at Dutch Flat and the county seat until the year 
1882, when he removed to Auburn as district attorney in 1883. He served 
two terms, ending with the year 1886. He formed, a partnership with the 
late W. C. Wallace, superior judge of Napa County, who had then recently 
moved into Placer County, and the firm did a fine law business until 1889. 

In the meantime Mr. Prewett and his family had resided in the town 
of Ophir for one year, driving into Auburn daily to his office. His studious 
habits and successful practice marked him for the bench, and he was elected 
on the Democratic ticket in 1890 to the office of superior judge. Thereafter 
he was continuously elected to the same office until he died, on July 7, 1922, 
after one of the longest uninterrupted terms as an occupant of the bench 
in the State, having served for thirty-one and one-half years. 

Judge Prewett, as mentioned above, was never a strong man. He suf- 
fered with stomach trouble for thirty-odd years; yet, notwithstanding his 



266 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

ailments, he was active physically in some ways, and always active mentally. 
He enjoyed horseback riding in his early life, and was an early user of the 
safety bicycle. In fact, he seemed to keep abreast of modern improve- 
ments. With the automobile it was the same. He drove the first automo- 
bile in Auburn, a "Winton three" — a wonderful, high-wheeled, chain-pro- 
pelling, grasshopper-like concern ; but he followed the improvements, and his 
last machine was of the best make. He did more, with his careful, sane 
driving, to break in nervous horses than was done by dozens of other men. 
His loads of happy children to and from school made the automobile a 
very popular means of conveyance. 

In pursuit of an education, J. E. Prewett attended Santa Rosa College, 
after completing his studies in the public schools, but ill health compelled 
him to leave in his senior year. He then began teaching, but was forced 
to resign on account of ill health. The law was to be his future life work, 
and in preparation for his profession he familiarized himself with all depart- 
ments of literature, history, science, mechanics, philosophy, etc., and in 
time became one of the best informed scholars in the county and State, 
notwithstanding his early and long continued ill health. He acquired a 
wonderful mastery of the choicest English, having at his command an un- 
usually extensive vocabulary. While he did not hold himself out as a lex- 
icographer, he secured from time to time the best dictionaries, as they came 
out — seven in all — and spent much time and labor in tabulating disputed 
spellings of words and preferred pronunciations, even to the extent of several 
hundred pages of typewritten matter, including from 12,000 to 15,000 words. 

For many years Auburn conducted a society called the "Monday Night 
Club." at first a small affair, meeting at the members' homes, but later re- 
quiring a good-sized hall or auditorium. At these meetings were discussed 
all manner of subjects. Usually one or two well-prepared essays were 
presented and afterwards commented on ; and topics of the day, or other 
matters of interest, were discussed. From thirty to fifty members would at- 
tend, and other entertainments were careful to avoid Monday nights. Judge 
Prewett was president of this society for many years; and he and his wife 
prepared many of the most important essays. The society continued its 
programs for about twenty-five years and then quietly died, the members 
seemingly having exhausted all available subjects. It is said that over 300 
topics were carefully considered during its existence. With such self-im- 
posed labors Judge Prewett strove to improve himself and be a help to the 
community. 

The Judge was always ready to exchange services with other superior 
judges, and willingly went, on request of the Governor, to aid in the over- 
worked courts of other counties, even to Los Angeles and San Francisco, 
having occupied the bench in every county of the State except two. Dur- 
ing his later years he sat much on the appellate bench and prepared many 
valuable opinions. One of the judges of that court stated at the memorial 
services that a day or so before going to his severe surgical operation and 
death, he filed with the first and third appellate courts fifty of his decisions 
prepared for these departments. He sat for fifteen months for Judge Chip- 
man in the third appellate court. 

For twenty years of his later life, it is said, the Judge never ate what 
might be called a hearty meal. The tip end of a chicken's wing, rich gravies, 
milk, and other foods easily digested but nourishing were his means of 
existence for many years, though he was undergoing all the time the hardest 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 267 

of mental labor. He seemed starved and hungry, yet could not eat. But 
while growing weary of the battle for physical existence his mind was keen 
and active to the last. He finally intimated a willingness to brave the 
surgeon's knife in anticipation of relief from his physical sufferings. A 
cancerous growth in the stomach proved to be the cause of all his misery. 
Like any unused organ of the human body, his stomach was atrophied, be- 
ing as small as that of a child. The operation by eminent surgeons was 
considered successful for the primary trouble, but the length of the opera- 
tion, through the extreme surcharging of the blood with ether, produced a 
poisoning of the kidneys which proved fatal. He failed to make a success- 
ful recovery and the sufferer of many years passed to the Beyond. Most 
of his active life was a wonderful example of pure will-power and mental 
strength conquering bodily weakness. 

J. Ives Fitch, who was the last of the county judges, came to Placer 
County from Chicago before the Civil War. His time was divided 
during the war between his profession and his military activities. He first 
joined the Auburn Greys, and was First sergeant in Company A under 
Stephen B. Woodin's command. According to the roll book kept by D. \\ . 
Lubeck, Sergeant Fitch was assigned as drill master to Squad III. The 
squad contained the following names: Louis Dollman, Henry H. Fellows, 
John Harwood, Andy Holler, Joseph B. Langdon, Solon M. Stevens, Wil- 
liam B. Stillman, John R. Willis, Samuel S. Greenwood, and Cornelius 
C. Allen. Sergeant Fitch rose from the ranks to the position of captain, and 
served his country in the Territory of Arizona during the war. After the 
war was over he returned to Auburn and practiced his profession. He was 
elected as the last county judge and held office from 1872 to 1880, and under 
the provisions of the new constitution was succeeded by Placer County's 
first superior judge. 

David W. Spear came to Auburn from Pennsylvania after the main 
gold rush was over. He was a well-read lawyer and followed his pro- 
fession until 1868, when he was elected as county judge, filling the position 
acceptably until 1872. It was during his term of office that most of the 
townsites were acquired, such as Auburn, Ophir, Dutch Flat and Tahoe 
City. Like most Auburn citizens, he was a member of the Auburn Greys 
during the Civil War. He belonged to Squad II, and was drilled by Lieu- 
tenant E. L. Craig. Judge Spear died in the month of May, 1892, much 
respected by all. 

Lee L. Chamberlain was born on Coon Creek, in Placer County, in 1862. 
and died March 13, 1913. He was a self-made man and a good lawyer. He 
loved to handle criminal cases. The more desperate and hopeless the case 
appeared, the more he was spurred up to win it. He was also a success- 
ful civil lawyer and a good and successful compromiser in civil cases also. 
He prepared his cases thoroughly, and just before the morning session, at 
the noon hour, or at any ten-minute recess, he was generally ready to meet 
the opposing attorney and negotiate for a compromise. He seemed to have 
a keen judgment as to what the decision ought to be in the case, and if 
the opposing attorney was open and frank and disposed to be fair, an agree- 
ment was often quickly arranged. Another characteristic of Mr. Chamber- 
lain was that his oral word or stipulation was absolutely dependable when 
once given. Early in life he developed a masterful way of dealing with 
men. It was nothing unusual for Mr. Chamberlain to write to or telephone 
for men twice his age, double his education, and by all accepted rules his 



268 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

superiors, to come to his office to consult with him. He seemed seldom to go 
to others, but he had a forceful way of persuading others to come to him. 

Mr. Chamberlain played the game of local politics very successfully 
for a time. He seemed to find unalloyed pleasure in winning victories for 
himself or others ; it seemed a sort of infatuation with him. He was elect- 
ed and served as district attorney of his county from 1892 to 1894; was 
reelected for the term 1894 to 4898; was appointed October 16, 1901, to 
finish out the term of Edwin F. Wright, who died in office ; and was again 
appointed to finish out the term of Charles A. Tuttle, who resigned dur- 
ing his second term, in 1912. Mr. Chamberlain died while in office, in 
March, 1913. 

In the building of Placer County's new court-house, it is said, there 
were many jobs brought forward to rob the tax-payers — a new one was 
hatched about once a month. Chamberlain was in office part of this time, 
and aided greatly in heading off little and big jobs of the sort. This was 
the expressed opinion of Judge Prewett during those years. 

Mr. Chamberlain left a wife and five children — three lawyer sons and 
two charming daughters. One of the sons, Thomas G., rose to the posi- 
tion of captain, in France, in the late war, and after its close became an 
active champion of the League of Nations. He toured much of the United 
States with ex-President Taft, eloquently advocating that this govern- 
ment should join the League. 

Chamberlain had a joyous, boisterous laugh that could be heard at a 
distance, and that seemed to assure everybody that the world was moving 
along just right — for Lee. 

Samuel J. Pullen was born in Gibson County, Ind., in 1839. He came to 
California in 1868, and taught school in Sacramento County, and later in 
Roseville, Placer County, in 1872. In 1884 he was elected county clerk on 
the Democratic ticket, serving from 1885 to 1889. Later he was elected 
and served two terms as supervisor of the third district of his county. He 
also served as city attorney of Auburn. While serving acceptably in these 
positions he studied law and was admitted to practice in 1890. Office bus- 
iness being congenial to him, he became a sound counsellor and legal ad- 
viser, and was a good probate lawyer. He merited and had the confidence 
of the business community, and conducted what is called a good, clean 
practice. 

In 1878 Mr. Pullen married Miss Alice Cross, of Sacramento County. 
He died in Auburn on December 22, 1907. 

John Francis Pullen, son of Samuel J. Pullen, was born in Roseville, 
Placer County, in 1882. He graduated from the public and high schools 
of Placer County, and in 1907 graduated from the State University. He 
then took a postgraduate course in the law department, and was admit- 
ted to practice in the courts of the State, beginning his practice of the 
law in San Francisco. He moved to Sacramento in 1910. 

Mr. Pullen was for a time associated with several able attorneys as 
partner. He was later appointed referee in bankruptcy by Judge De Haven 
of the United States court, and served in that capacity until 1918, when he 
resigned the position owing to stress of increasing private practice. 

In 1923 the State legislature created a fourth department of the su- 
perior court in Sacramento County, by a bill which also provided for the 
appointment by the Governor of a fourth judge for the newly-created court. 
The Governor took ample time — five or six months — to canvass the avail- 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 269 

ability of the members of the bar of Sacramento County for appointment 
to the judgeship. He sent out a questionaire to the attorneys, asking them 
to mark their choice from among their brother attorneys as first, second and 
third choice, etc., as a recommendation for appointment. Mr. Pullen was 
honored with first place in the choice by his brother attorneys ; and this 
meeting with the approval of the Governor, after making his own care- 
ful investigation as to the moral worth and legal ability of young Mr. Pul- 
len, he was appointed to the position on September 24, 1923. 

Mr. Pullen married Miss Rita Gladden, of Placer Count)-, and they 
have one daughter. 

William Cyrus Wallace was born in 1823 at Lexington, Ky. He was 
admitted to the bar in his native State, came to California in 1849, settled 
in Sacramento County, and in 1854 was elected district attorney of that 
county. In 1869 he was elected district judge of the seventh district, and 
was reelected in 1875. In 1879 all four parties then in Napa County united 
in the nomination and election of superior judge, the newly created posi- 
tion under the new constitution. Later, for reasons of health, he moved 
to Placer County and formed a partnership with J. E. Prewett. The firm 
did a fine business until the partnership was mutually dissolved when Mr. 
Prewett went on the bench as superior judge of Placer County. Judge 
Wallace was one of the old-fashioned, deeply-read attorneys, and from his 
preeminently judicial bent of mind was naturally fitted for the judgeship. 
It was natural, therefore, that he should occupy the bench most of his 
active life. He died on February 4, 1895. 

Lee Ewing Wallace, son of the Judge, was born in Napa County in 
1864, and was educated at Oak Mound Academy. He studied law in his 
father's office, and was admitted to the Supreme Court while living in Napa 
County. He came to Auburn with his father. 

Lee, as he was familiarly called, was a ready w r riter and very humor- 
ous. He wrote much for the Napa papers. In old days, when the up-town 
and down-town nonsense was at its height in Auburn, the newspaper articles 
he wrote about the attacks, battles and retreats of the different factions, 
and the fierce threats made across the "dead line," opposite Tom Nicholl's 
front gate, were side-splitting. Some wag had actually painted a big red 
stripe across the walk. The W. A. Freeman gang, armed with hammers, 
saws, scythes and butcher knives, might rout the down-towners by sur- 
prise and numbers on one night ; but on the next dark night the Brye-Snow- 
den-Stevens cohorts, armed with hoes, shovels and Chinese stink-pots from 
the near-by Chinatown, stood and toed the "dead line" and slaughtered 
the white-shirted gentry without mercy. 

Lee Wallace was kindness personified. He was never known to hurt 
the feelings of anyone by word, or pen or act of his. He married Mary, 
the fourth living daughter of Jo Hamilton and wife. One son, Hugh, now 
twenty years of age, was their only child. Lee Wallace died in Auburn 
in the year 1910. 

L. B. Arnold practiced in Dutch Flat in the early seventies, and died 
there on March 10, 1879. He was interested in leads, or early-day blue or 
white-gravel river channels which, as a rule, did not flow in the same direc- 
tion as the present-day river channels. He issued a fine mining map cov- 
ering the mining part of Placer and adjoining counties. It was considered 
quite accurate as to the probable locations of the ancient river channels. 



270 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Robert F. Burns, or "Bob Burns," as he was commonly called, was 
born in Boston. Mass.. and came to Michigan Bluff with his parents in his 
youth. He acquired a good common-school education, and taught in the 
public schools of Placer County for many years. Later he was elected 
to the office of superintendent of schools in his home county, and improved 
the school department greatly while in office. In his early life he showed 
marked ability as a public speaker, and during all his life his services were 
in demand on public occasions. He and the writer were law partners for 
eight years during the early nineties. He graduated at the University of 
Indiana, in the law department, in 1896. Burns was very patriotic and 
roused the spirit of patriotism in old and young alike. It is asserted that 
he gave the address at the first public-school flag-raising at Penryn, Placer 
County, and aided much in securing the flag, at the time when that mode 
of expressing patriotism was sweeping over California. 

About the year 1906 Burns and his wife moved to Oakland, where he 
practiced his profession until his death, which occurred on May 30, 1918. 
while he was delivering a patriotic address at Lodi. He was active in lodge 
circles, especially in the Knights of Pythias. 

Hart Fellows was a well-read lawyer who practiced in Auburn for 
many years, was county judge from 1863 to 1868, and later was register 
and receiver of the United States land office at Sacramento. He had sev- 
eral sons of marked ability, one of whom, H. H. Fellows, was district at- 
torney of the county in 1870-1872. Another son, William, was in the army 
during the war. and later in newspaper work until his death. 

Charles A. Tuttle, the oldest son of Charles A. Tuttle, Sr., was born 
in Auburn. He attended school in Oakland, and studied law at Yale and 
Hastings. After his father returned from Oakland to Auburn, in 1877, he 
practiced law in Auburn. "Charley" Tuttle had a very clear, discerning 
legal mind and earned a well-merited reputation for entering cases that 
had been poorly or negligently tried, and apparently lost beyond hope, and 
preparing the same for the Supreme Court, often winning victories by em- 
phasizing points of importance but slightly noticed in the trial court. 

Edward W. Hillyer was a brother of J. C. Hillyer. He began his prac- 
tice in Auburn before the Civil War. Patriotic impulses impelled him to 
enter the army in 1862, and he became a lieutenant of California volunteers 
and later a lieutenant-colonel. In 1863 he was Assemblyman from Placer 
County. In 1871 he was appointed United States district attorney for the 
State of Nevada. 

W. B. Lardner was born near Niles, Mich., on December 12, 1850. His 
education was acquired in the public schools and colleges in Iowa, to which 
State he moved in 1865. He graduated from Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, 
Iowa, in 1875, and in 1877 from the law department of the Iowa State L'ni- 
versity as valedictorian of his class. He came to California first in 1872 
as a school-teacher, returning to Iowa to finish his college career. 

In 1889 he was elected to the Assembly, and in 1901 was elected to 
the Senate, representing Placer and Eldorado Counties in the old fifth dis- 
trict. In the Senate he procured the passage of a law prohibiting granite 
to be cut at the Folsom State Prison with the prison labor, for commercial 
purposes, which greatly aided the quarrymen and stone-cutters of his own 
county. In the Assembly he nominated and supported Hon. W. H. L. 
Barnes fur the United States Senate, and did a like service for Hon. George 
C. Perkins. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 271 

Mr. Lardner was admitted to the Supreme Court of Iowa in 1877, and 
was also admitted to the United States district courts in that State. Later 
he was admitted to the Supreme Court of the State of California, and to 
the United States courts at San Francisco. He was elected district attor- 
ney of Placer County in 1879, taking office in 1880, at a time when the new 
constitution and first statutes under it were to be construed and put into 
execution. The mode of procedure was radically changed. Prosecutions by 
information by the district attorney, after preliminary examination and 
holding to the superior court by an examining magistrate, were to be used 
by the prosecuting officer. It was only necessary to call a grand jury once 
a year. Considerable work, and some little guessing, by the district at- 
torneys and the attorney general of the State, were necessary in order to 
direct the criminal procedure in such a manner as would most likely meet 
the approval of the Supreme Court. 

Mr. Lardner married Miss Jennie Mitchell, a native of New York State. 

In starting the chapter on the Bench and Bar of Placer County, the 
writer took the names from the work of Thompson and West, publishers, 
in 1882, intending to finish the list from the roll of attorneys which the 
writer signed in 1877, and which, no doubt, all the older members of the 
bar signed before that date ; but unfortunately the old roll book is mislaid 
or lost — at least it cannot be found — so the writer was compelled to add 
to the list such additional names of attorneys as he could recall, of those 
who had practiced in our superior court since 1882. These have been 
listed in alphabetical order, for convenience, in a separate list. The writer 
has called on several local attorneys to aid him in completing the names 
and while some names may have been unintentionally omitted, an earnest 
effort has been made to include all who may rightfully have been considered 
residents of Placer County, and have practiced in our courts. 

Some of the older members of the bar with frosty hair have moved away, 
such as Ben P. and Ashley Tabor, J. D. Meredith, and Judge J. F. Pullen. All 
of these older members of the Placer County bar had won their spurs before 
they left, and are now winning a State-wide reputation in their new loca- 
tions in Sacramento and other counties. There are same forty-odd, too 
numerous to mention separately. Two at least of the younger attorneys 
have studied in the writer's office and are making good. Several others 
have asked the writer to act as examining committeeman as to their pro- 
ficiency in their preliminary studies before going up to take the bar ex- 
aminations before the Supreme Court. The list of applicants has been good, 
above the average. Some are following their fathers as fine orators and 
pleasing speakers ; others are becoming careful and dependable attorneys 
and counsellors. There is none, while at his best, to be ashamed of. The 
assertion of Frank Page, the old Congressman, that Placer County had "a 
rattling good bar," still holds good, though perhaps not in as superlative 
a degree as in the olden times. 

Other Names on the Registered List 

But there are other names among the 180 and more from the registered 
list that fortify Frank Page's praise. How the names got on the list is not 
known. No doubt they did not live in Placer County permanently. Per- 
haps it was a local requirement that they register their names as occasional 
attorneys of record on certain important cases. Be that as it may, the 
writer takes pleasure in mentioning the names of certain old-time and very 



272 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 



honorable attorneys, many of whom the writer has seen and met in the 
local court during the past forty-six years. The following is a list of these: 

Gen. W. H. L. Barnes, W. H. Beatty, W. C. Belcher, A. P. Catlin, 
James Coffroth, Cornelius Cole (now 102 years old — 1924), R. O. Cravens, 
E. B. Crocker, N. Green Curtis, William P. Daingerfield, J. P. Dameron, 
Horace Davenport, Presley Dunlap, Morris M. Estee, John Garber, W. H. 
Goodfellow, T. Hardv, Creed Haymond, Felix B. Higgins, J. Neeley John- 
son, M. S. Latham, 'T. B. McFarland, C. F. McGlashan, J. H. McKenna, 
A. C. Niles, T. B. Reardon, W. S. Sanderson, Niles Searles, Lansing Stout, 
D. W. Welty. 

Many of these have been superior judges of their own counties later 
in life; some have been on the supreme bench of this State; others have 
been United States judges in this and other States ; while others still have 
been legislators of the highest rank. The writer makes bold to assert that 
the reflected luster of the careers of most of the foregoing, in view of their 
character and ability, would do honor to any court or courtroom. Even as 
casual visitors, they would honor any bar association ; but their names are 
on our roll of attorneys, be their sojourn with us long or short. 



Attorneys Registered in Placer County up to 1882 



Aldrich, L. 
Allen, 



Anderson, George L. 

Anderson, James. Auburn, 1853. 

Ankenny, . 

Arnold, L. B. Dutch Flat. Died 

March 10, 1889. 
Ball, A. J. 
Barnes, W. H. L. 
Beatty, W. H. 
Belcher, J. S. 
Belcher, W. C. 
Bodley, Thomas. 
Bridges, Otis L. Auburn, 1850. 
Bronk, Abram. 
Brown, C. J. 

Buckner, . 

Buckner, . 

Bullock, W. H. Michigan Bluff. 

Campbell, J. E. 

Cannon, J. F. 

Cantwell, W. R. Auburn, 1853. 

Catlin, A. P. 

Christy, T. 

Christy, J. S. Auburn, 1850. 

Clayton,' P. H. 

Coffroth, James. 

Cole, Cornelius. 102 years of age in 

1924. 
Craig, E. L. 
Cravens, R. O. Started at Yankee 

Jims. 
Crocker, E. B. 
Curtis, N. Green. 
Daingerfield, William P. 
Dameron, J. P. Lincoln. 



Davenport, Horace. 

Dibble, A. B. 

Donnelly, George W. 

Dudley, Charles C. Iowa Hill. 

Dunlap, Presley. 

Dyer, Charles. 

Edwards, P. 

English, J. L. 

Estee, Morris M. 

Farwell, Seth B. 

Fellows, H. H. 

Fellows, Hart. 

Ferguson, . 

Fitch, J. Ives. 

Fitch, J. Jones. 

Fitzsimmons, Hugh. Auburn, 1851 ; 

later, Forest Hill. 

Foot, . 

Force, H. E. Died January 19, 1856, 

at age of thirty-two. 
French, C. G. W. 
Friend, C. A. 
Fulweiler, John M. Started at 

Dutch Flat. 
Garber, John. 

Gardner, . 

Gaylord, E. H. 

Oilman, . 

Glover, . 

Goodfellow, AY. H. 

Goss, J. H. 

Greer. W. B. 

Griffith, J. J. 

Hartley, H. H. 

Hale, James E. First practiced at 

Yankee Jims. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 



273 



Hamilton, Jo. First practiced at 
Yankee Jims. 

Hanshaw, 

Hardy, J. 

Harley, . 

Harmon, - — . 
Harrison, 



Hawkins, Hiram R. Auburn, 1850. 

Haymond, Creed. 

Heard, John. 

Hermance, L. 

Higgins, A. S. 

Higgins, Felix B. 

Hill, E. E. 

Hillver. Curtis J. Yankee Jims, 

Iowa Hill, 1853. 
Hillyer, Ed. W. 

Himrod, . 

Hopper, P. J. 

Hopkins, R. D. Auburn, 1850. 

Horce, N. E. 

Hornblower, F. A. 

Houston, F. J. Died at Auburn, 

June, 1861. 

Howard. . 

Howell, John M. 
Hubbard. J. F. 

Hughes, . 

Hyer, . 

Johns, . 

Johnson, C. A. 
Johnson, J. Neeley. 
Jones, T. R. 

Tudah, . 

Kelts, . 

Keyser, Charles A. 

Kinkade, John T. 

Labatt, H. J. 

Langdon, C. W. 

Lardner, \V. B. 

Latham, M. S. 

Lattimer, L. D. 

Lawrence, W. D. 

Long, W. S. 

Longyear, E. 

McConnell, Francis. 

McConnell, John R. 

McCullough, J. G. 

McFarland, T. B. 

McGlashan, C. F. Truckee. 

McGrew, W. H. 

Manford, F. S. 

Markham, Ralph. Yankee Jims, 

Michigan City, 1853. 
Marshall, I. B. Michigan City. 

Melbourne, . 

Meredith, Henry. 
Meyer, M. S. 



Mills, M. E. Died at Auburn, Octo- 
ber 24, 1862. 
Moore, Geo. R. 
Moore, James. Ophir. 
Moreland, W. W. 

Munson, . 

Myres, Benj. F. Died at Auburn, 

December 26, 1902. 
Nennes, J. A. 

Newell, . 

Niles, A. C. Nevada City. 
Norton, W. C. Lincoln. 

Oeden, . 

Patten, . 

Peck, Geo. N. 
Poland, R. C. 
Prewett, J. E. 
Reardon, T. B. 
Rich, W. C. 

Robertson, — . 

Robinson, . 

Ross, . 

Rowell, C. W. C. 

Ryerson, H. O. Auburn, 1850. 

Sanders, . 

Sanderson, W. S. 

Saunders, — . 

Scobey, Joseph W. Ophir. 1850. 

Searles, Niles. Nevada City. 

Sibley, P. H. 

Singer, Peter. Lincoln. 

Slade, J. P. 

Smith, A. W. 

Smith, Horace. 

Smith, J. C. 

Spaulding, . 

Spear, D. W. 

Stout, Lansing. Taylorsville. 

Sunderland, . 

Sweet, A. W. 

Tallman, . 

Taylor, . 

Thomas, Phil W. . 

Towle, G. W. 

Truett, C. A. 

Tuttle, Charles A. First practiced 

at Michigan Bluff. 
Tweed, C. A. First practiced at 

Dutch Flat. 
Upton, W. W. 
Vana, C. H. Roseville. 

Vanburen, . 

Vandecar, E. H. 

Van Guelden, A. A. 

Van Vactor, Win. Iowa Hill. 

Walker. A. W. 

Waters, G. L. 

Webster, G. G. Michigan City. 



274 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 



Welch, J. F. 
Welch. J. S. 
Welty, D. W. 
Westmorland, Charles. 
Whiting, B. C. 



Wilber, J. L. 
Williams, Thomas H. 
Wilson, E. M. 
Winans, J. W. 
Wyman, F. W. 



Attorneys Admitted to Supreme Court 

The following is a list of attorneys admitted to our Supreme Court on 
examination, or who moved into Placer County as fully qualified attorneys. 
Many have removed to other counties or have died since 1882. 



Anderson. L. C. Roseville. 
Broyer, Al H. Roseville. 
Burns, R. F. Died at Lodi, 1918. 
Burns, W. J. 

Chamberlain, L. L. Died at Au- 
burn. 
Chamberlain, R. Lee. 
Chamberlain, T. L. 
Chamberlain, Thomas G. 
Clark, A. E. Lincoln. 
Dunlap, Boutwell. 
Duryea, Frank. 
Ekberg, P. G. 
Gibson, J. B. Roseville. 
Gray, Harry. Lincoln. 
Gray, Lee. Colfax. 
Hamilton, G. W. 
Hughes, W. A. 
Johnson, Pat. 
Kipp, Byron S. 

Landis, J. B. Superior judge, 1922. 
Lowell, A. C. 
Lowell, M. Z. 
Lowell, Orrin J. 
Lukens, G. E. 
May, W. I. 



Meredith, J. D. Now of Sacra- 
mento. 

Prewett, W. J. 

Pullen, J. F. Now superior judge 
Sacramento County, 1924. 

Pullen, Samuel J. Died at Auburn. 

Robinson, A. K. 

Robinson, K. D. 

Slade, W. H. 

Smith, E. O. 

Sowden, W. P. Dutch Flat. 

Stewart, Mrs. Gussie A. Auburn. 

Stilson, Charles H. 

Stone, Melville. Roseville. 

Tabor, A. R. 

Tabor, Ben P. 

Tuttle, Charles A. Died at Auburn. 

Tuttle, Charles A., Jr. Now at 

Fresno. 
'Tuttle, F. P., Jr. 

Tuttle, Frank. 

Tuttle, Raglan. 

Wallace, Lee E. 

Wallace, W. C. 

Wright, Edwin F 



Died at Auburn. 
Died at Auburn. 
Died at Auburn. 



Judiciary of Placer County 



The following judges have held office in Placer County: 

County Judges: Hugh Fitzsimmons, 1850 to 1855; James E. Hale, 
1855 to 1859; E. H. Vandecar, 1859 to 1863; Hart Fellows, 1863 to 1868; 
D. W. Spear, 1868 to 1872; J. Ives Fitch, 1872 to 1880. 

District Judges: Seth B. Farwell, 1851 to 1852; John M. Howell, 1852 
to 1859; Benjamin F. Myres, 1859 to 1864; T. B. McFarland, 1864 to 1872; 
T. B. Reardon, 1872 to 1880. 

Superior Judges: B. F. Myres, 1880 to 1890; J. E. Prewett. 1891 to 
1922, thirty-one and one-half years; J. B. Landis, 1922. 

District Attorneys of Placer County 

During the same period the following have been elected or appointed 
district attorneys : 

R. D. Hopkins. 1851 to 1853; P. W. Thomas, 1853 to 1855; M. E. Mills, 
1855 to 1857; P. W. Thomas, 1857 to 1861; Jo Hamilton, 1861 to 1864; 
C. A. Tweed, 1864 to 1866 ; E. L. Craig, 1866 to 1870 ; H. H. Fellows, 1870 
to 1872; J. M. Fulweiler, 1872 to 1876; W. H. Bullock, 1876 to 1880; 
W. B. Lardner, 1880 to 1883, to March ; J. E. Prewett, 1883 to 1886 ; F. P. 
1 utile, 1886 to 1890; A. K. Robinson, 1890 to 1892; L. L. Chamberlain, 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 



27: 



1892 to 1894; L. L. Chamberlain, 1894 to 1898; Edwin F. Wright, 1898 
to 1902 (Wright died, and L. L. Chamberlain was appointed on October 
16, 1901, to finish term); A. K. Robinson, 1902 to 1906; Charles A. Tattle, 
1906 to 1910; Charles A. Tuttle, 1910 to 1914 (Resigned, and L. L. Cham- 
berlain was appointed to finish term, but died in 1913 ; G. W. Hamilton 
was then appointed to finish term, but resigned in February, 1914, and 
A. E. Clark was appointed to finish full year of 1914) ; J. B. Landis, 1914 
to 1918; J. B. Landis. 1918 to 1922; Orrin J. Lowell, appointed after J. B. 
Landis was appointed judge to finish term to 1922; Orrin J. Lowell, for 
four years, 1922 to 1926. 



CHAPTER XV 



Anderson, James 



Baker, Jehiel H 

Banvard, Edgar M.. 
Birdsall, E. S 



Bradley, E. L 

Burt, Samuel B 

Chapman, E. W 

Filcher, Joseph A.... 

Frye, Jacob 

Hale. J. E 

Hall, A. P 

Harriman, William D. 

Hawthorne, J. C 

Higgins, Felix B 

Ingram, Thomas 

Irish, |ohn P 



Lardner, William B. 

Leet, Samuel T 

Martin, Xoble 

Neff, Jacob H 

Norton. William C. 



PUBLIC OFFICIALS 

Senators from Placer County 

9th, 10th and 11th ses- 
sions 

9th and 10th sessions. . 

18th and 19th sessions. 

38th. 39th. 40th and 
41st sessions 

16th and 17th sessions. 
23rd and 24th sessions. 
32nd and 33rd sessions 

25th and 26th sessions. 

3rd session 

15th and 16th sessions. 
27th session 

13th and 14th sessions. 
6th and 7th sessions. . . 

14th session 

42nd. 43rd, 44th and 
45th sessions 



36th and 37th sessions. 

34th and 35th sessions. 

11th and 12th sessions. 

20th, 21st, 30th and 
31st sessions 

19th and 20th sessions. 
22nd session 



Democrat. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 

Republican. Placer, 

Sierra, Nevada 
Union. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Democrat. Placer, El- 
dorado 
Democrat. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Union. Placer 
Republican. Placer, 

Eldorado 
Union. Placer 
Whig. Placer 
Union. Placer 

Republican. Placer, 
Plumas, Sierra, Nev- 
ada, Eldorado 

Republican. Nevada, 
Placer, Plumas, 
Sierra 

Republican. Placer. 
Eldorado 

Douglas Democrat. 
Placer 

Independent Democrat. 

Placer, Eldorado 
Republican. Placer 
Republican. Placer 



276 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 



Thomas, Philip W.. 



Tuttle, Charles A. 
Tweed, C. W 



Walkup, Joseph .... 
Westmoreland, Chas. 
Yule, John 



12th and 13th sessions. 

5th and 6th sessions. . . 
17th and 18th sessions. 



4th, 5th and 8th ses- 
sions 

7th and 8th sessions. . . 



15th session 



Douglas Democrat. 

Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Union Republican, 

Union Democrat. 

Placer 

Democrat. Placer 
American, Democrat. 

Placer 
Union. Placer 



Members of Assembly from Placer County 



Andrews, Moses.... 
Barclay, William P.. 
Birdsall, E. S 



Blanchard, N. W 

Bosquit, John 

Brach, D. Seymour... 

Burt, Samuel B 

Calderwood, M. H 

Canney, Patrick 

Chamberlain, Thos. L. 

Colby, George H 

Corey, William 

Crutcher, William M.. 

Curtis, D. B 

Davis, John 

Dudley, Charles C 

Duryea, Frank A 



Fairfield, B. L 

Finnegan, George B.. 

Gaylord, E. C 



Gibson, Joseph H.... 

Gragg, R. F 

Hale, James E 

Hall, A. P 

Hamilton, George W. 
Harriman, W. J 



Harriman, William D. 

Harville, John W 

Hillyer, E. W 

Johnson, Patrick H.. . . 

Kabler, Nickolas 

Lardner, William B... 

Lee, O. H 

Long, Henry 

Lovell, S. W 

Lynch, Philip 



6th session. . 
10th session. 
37th session. 



14th session 

16th session 

11th session 

20th session 

18th session 

3rd and 4th sessions. . . 

23rd session 

26th session 

6th session 

21st session 

9th session 

27th and 28th sessions. 
14th and 15th sessions. 

34th, 35th and 36th 
sessions 



5th session. . 
40th session. 

39th session. 

3rd session. . 
6th session. . 
24th session . 
31st session. 
30th session. 
12th session. 



12th session. 
11th session. 
9th session. . 
38th session. 

9th session. . 
33rd session. 
19th session. 
19th session. 
11th session. 
10th session. 



Whig. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Republican. Placer, 

Eldorado 
Democrat. Placer 
Union. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Whig. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Union Democrat. 

Placer 

Republican. Placer, 

Eldorado 
Democrat. Placer 
Democrat. Placer, 

Nevada 
Republican. Placer, 

Eldorado 
Democrat. Placer 
Whig. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Douglas Democrat. 

Placer 
Republican. Placer. 
Democrat. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Democrat. Placer, El- 
dorado 
Democrat. Placer. 
Republican. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 



277 



McHale, Patrick 

Makins, James N 

Martin, Noble 

Moreland, Thomas... 
Munday, Patrick .... 



Myres, Benjamin F. . . 
Norton, William C. .. 

O'Neill, James 

Parker, Ivan H 



Power, Harold T 

Power, Michael H 

Pratt, J. D 

Reed, T. H.. 

Rousch, William 

Rutherford, Frank M.. 



Safford, A. P. K. . 
Selleck, Silas. . . . 
Sexton, William. 
Smith, L. G 



Snyder, E. H 

Spencer, C. G 

Stout, Lansing 

Stratton, William C. . 

Tuttle, Charles A 

Van Cleft, George H. 
Waldron, Mahlon 



Welty, Jacob 

Williams, R. L 

Wilson, W. W 

Winchester, Marcus C. 

Wing, N. P 

Woodbridge, Cora . . . 

Wyman, Samuel B.... 

Yule, John 

Yule, John 



25th session. 
11th session. 
29th session . 
6th session. . 
12th session. 



4th and 5th sessions. . . 

20th session 

5th and 8th sessions. . . 

42nd, 43rd and 44th 

sessions 

32nd session 

18th session 

15th session 

7th session 

20th session 

41st session 



8th and 9th sessions. . 

7th session 

16th session 

12th session 



15th session 

17th session 

7th session 

9th and 10th sessions. . 

17th session 

5th session 

17th and 18th sessions. 



19th session. 
7th session.. 
22nd session. 
15th session. 
10th session. 
45th session. 



8th session 

13th session 

14th and 16th sessions. 



Democrat. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Whig. Placer 
Douglas Democrat. 

Placer. 
Democrat. Placer 
Independent. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 

Republican, Placer, 

Nevada 
Republican, Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Union, Placer 
American. Placer 
Independent, Placer 
Republican. Placer, 

Nevada 
Democrat. Placer 
American. Placer 
Union. Placer 
Douglas Democrat. 

Placer 
Union, Placer 
Union. Placer 
American. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Union. Placer 
Democrat. Placer 
Union Republican. 

Placer 
Republican. Placer 
American. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Union. Placer 
Democrat, Placer 
Republican, Placer, 

Nevada 
Democrat. Placer 
Republican. Placer 
Placer 



Union. 
County Officers of Placer County, 1924 

Following is a list of the officers of Placer County, and their assistants, 
for the year 1924: 

Superior judge, Hon. J. B. Landis. 

County clerk, A. S. Fleming; deputy clerk, Lillian Rechenmacher. 

Sheriff, Elmer H. Gum; deputy sheriff, F. H. Dependener; stenographer 
and clerk, Helen Gum. 

District attorney, Orrin J. Lowell ; deputy district attorney, Marshall Z. 
Lowell ; secretary, Mildred Fulmer. 

Assessor and tax collector, Al H. Broyer ; deputy assessors and tax col- 
lectors, Mayme A. Veet and Oveta Walsh. 

Recorder, P. G. Ekberg ; deputy recorders, Mary H. Wallace and Frances 
S. Morgan. 

Auditor, C. D. McKinley; deputy auditor, Alma C. DeCamp. 



278 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Treasurer, George C. West; deputy, M. F. West. 

Superintendent of schools, Irene A. Burns ; deputy superintendent of 
schools, Anna Readle. 

Coroner and public administrator, Colin B. Hislop. 

Surveyor, John A. Shields ; deputy surveyor, W. B. Graziano. 

Probation officer, Loomis, L. J. Kinney. 

Horticultural commissioner, C. K. Turner. 

Farm adviser, Roy D. McCallum ; secretary, Maude Elkus. 

Sealer of weights and measures. C. H. Merrow. 

Supervisors: District No. 1, Roseville, William Haman, chairman; Dis- 
trict No. 2, Loomis, Fred G. Neff ; District No. 3, Auburn, William M. Haines; 
District No. 4, Weimar, Charles A. Giesendorfer ; District No. 5, Forest Hill, 
Matt C. Langstaff. 

Justices of the Peace: Township N T o. 1, Roseville, Melville Stone; Town- 
ship No. 3. Auburn, John Davis ; Township No. 4, Dutch Flat. G. H. Picker- 
ing; Township No. 9, Loomis, John Randolph; Township No. 10, Lincoln, 
Edward A. Grey; Township No. 11, Tahoe, C. W. Nelson; Township No. 13, 
Colfax, W. J. Butler, Township No. 14, Newcastle, S. F. Shannon. 

Constables: Township No. 1. Roseville, James Moran ; Township No. 3, 
Aburn, F. H. Dependener ; Township No. 4, Dutch Flat, Otto Bode ; Town- 
ship No. 9, Loomis, A. A. Pilliard ; Township No. 10, Lincoln, E. L. Beer- 
mann ; Township No. 11, Tahoe, R. M. Watson ; Township No. 13, Colfax, 
Frank D. Kuenzly ; Township No. 14, Newcastle, George A. Colwell. 

Municipal Officers 

Auburn : 

Trustees: M. D. Lininger (president of board), F. E. Brye, J. T. Walsh, 
Harry Rosenberry, and A. S. Waldo. Clerk and assessor, Mary H. Wallace ; 
city attorney, K. D. Robinson ; marshal and superintendent of streets, C. H. 
Gwynn ; recorder, C. H. Slade ; treasurer, H. S. Clegg; chief of fire department, 
Guy E. Lukens. 
Roseville : 

Trustees: Bradford Woodbridge (president of board). AVilliam Haman, 
George Guptill, A. F. W'olfe, and W. M. Turner. Clerk, assessor, electric 
light collector, F. R. Chilton; assistant electric light collector, A. E. Tyler; 
city attorney. J. B. Gibson; treasurer, T. H. Boswell ; marshal and tax 
collector, L. B. Allen; superintendent of streets, W. C. Keehner ; chief of fire 
department, Tony Mealia; city engineer, J. W. Meredith. 
Lincoln : 

Trustees: Charles Gladding (president of board), H. P. Sartain, H. C. 
Gordon, W. F. Zellner, Edward Vorous. City clerk and water clerk, Mil- 
dred C. Grey ; treasurer, John Gov ; city attorney, T. L. Chamberlain ; 
marshal, S. C. Laswell ; recorder, Edward A. Grey; health officer, F. R. Elder; 
engineer, Charles E. Sloan. 
Colfax : 

Trustees: Dr. Robert A. Peers (president of board), W. J. Butler (health 
and safety), W. D. Scanlon (sewers and lights), O. E. Williams (streets and 
sidewalks). Dr. H. M. Kanner (fire and police). Clerk and assessor, John M. 
Newman ; marshal and tax collector, R. J. Frederickson ; city attorney, Lee 
Gray : chief of fire department, W. D. Scanlon ; fire commissioners : Dr. H. M. 
Kanner. W. D. Scanlon, and George West ; health officer, Dr. C. J. Durand. 
Rocklin : 

Trustees: O. H. Ricksecker (president of board). O. W. Pekuri, A. O. 
"\\ ickman, J. G. Robinson, and Ben Nelson. Clerk, assessor and tax collector. 
Lilly M. Files; treasurer, M. B. Moore. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 279 



CHAPTER XVI 

BANKS OF PLACER COUNTY 

By G. W. BRUNDAGE 

The banking business of Placer County started almost with the first 
settlers of this county, shortly after 1848, when gold was first discovered. 
The first banking of which we have any knowledge was the selling of 
checks by Wells, Fargo & Company and the Adams Express Company. 
These same companies also delivered letters. It was not long, however, 
before merchants began to run a banking business in connection with their 
stores. Customers soon formed the habit of leaving their surplus cash 
with their favored merchant, depending upon his integrity to repay the 
same upon demand when needed. No interest was paid on such deposits. 
No examinations, such as we know today, were ever made of these so-called 
merchant-bankers, to be sure that their business was being conducted along 
sound business lines, with a reasonable assurance that the depositors' money 
would be there when wanted. The records of these early bankers are hard 
to gather. Anyone desiring to start in the banking business simply had 
to hang out a "shingle" with the word "Banker" on it. If he could inspire 
sufficient confidence in the public to induce them to leave their funds 
with him, then he was a banker in fact. 

L. McClure. of Dutch Flat; B. F. Moore, of Gold Run: H. H. Brown, 
of Gold Run; O. W. Hollenbeck, of Auburn; M. Andrews, of Auburn; and 
Hall & Allen, of Auburn, were some of the earlier bankers who had passed 
out of the banking picture long before the present generation. W. & P. 
Nichols, of Dutch Flat, were also among the pioneers, starting in 1860. 

Perhaps the greatest part of the banking business in the early days 
was the buying of gold-dust ; in fact, that was probably the main reason 
for their existence. You will notice that all of the old-time bankers were 
in the gold-bearing region. In the early days there were no banks below 
Auburn. 

The time came, however, when the private bankers of California began 
to fail in many instances to repay the money left with them on deposit ; 
and the State then thought it was time to step in and be sure that money 
entrusted to any person was properly looked after. A law was passed 
requiring anyone receiving deposits to have some of their own money in 
the business. Consequently, one could not start a bank in a small place 
without having at least $25,000 of his own money as capital. This was sup- 
posed to be a protection to his depositors. He was also placed under the 
supervision of bank commissioners who were appointed by the Governor. 

The early history of the bank commissioners was not very reassuring, 
however. Their system of examinations was very lax, so that bank failures 
continued to be entirely too numerous ; and in 1909 the present bank act 
was passed, placing the supervision of banks in the hands of the superin- 
tendent of banks, with a very good system of examinations and plenty of 



280 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

restrictions as to the conduct of their business. The application of the law 
has resulted in greatly lessening the number of bank failures. 

State banks in California are organized as corporations. Among the 
first to be organized in accordance with the law in California were W. & P. 
Nichols at Dutch Flat (still retaining the old private bank name, which had 
begun business in 1860); the Placer County Bank in Auburn, in 1887; and 
the Bank of Newcastle, which took over the private banking business of 
John A. Chantry. Business at Dutch Flat, however, was on the down grade; 
and the days of gold were rapidly passing, so far as gold shipments were 
concerned. W. & P. Nichols, at Dutch Flat, went out of business in 1912, 
paying all their depositors in full ; in fact, they had to insist upon some of 
the last ones calling for their money. For many years thereafter the place 
of business was opened by one of the owners, long after the business itself 
had ceased. 

In 1902 Walter Jansen, B. C. Musser, and associates organized the Bank 
of Lincoln. 

In 1905 the Bank of Auburn was organized by J. M. Francis and asso- 
ciates. This bank, however, was shortly consolidated with the Placer County 
Bank and became the East Auburn Branch of that institution. 

In 1906 the Roseville Banking & Trust Company was organized in 
Roseville. This bank is now known as the Roseville Banking Company. 

In 1907 R. L. Neal and associates organized the Colfax Bank. 

The center of the banking power, you will notice, was shifting down 
from the mountains into the foothills. Hydraulic mining was stopped by 
the State and many of the big mines had lost their lead. In Lincoln, in 
addition to the cattle, sheep and grain business, a large pottery had sprung 
up. To Roseville the railroad had moved its shops from Rocklin. Higher 
in the foothills the ranchers had begun to plant orchards, and instead of 
digging for gold, were beginning to get the gold from the ground in the 
shape of fruit. 

In 1908 the First National Bank of Auburn was organized by G. W. 
Brundage and associates. 

In 1910 the Auburn Savings Bank was organized from the Placer Loan 
Company, a company originally organized by E. T. Robie, of the Auburn 
Lumber Company, for the primary purpose of making loans to people want- 
ing to build homes. 

In 1914 the Bank of Western Placer was organized in Lincoln by F. C. 
Crosby and associates. 

In 1915 the Bank of Loomis was organized by J. J. Brennan and 
associates. Loomis was rapidly becoming the second largest fruit-shipping 
point in the county. 

In 1916 the Placer County Bank took over the Bank of Newcastle, 
and it has since been known as the Newcastle Branch of the Placer County 
Bank. 

In 1921 two additional banks were organized in Roseville. One is 
known as the Roseville National Bank of Roseville ; the other is called the 
Railroad National Bank. 

In 1922 the Colfax Bank was sold to the Auburn Savings Bank, and 
became the Colfax Branch of the Auburn Savings Bank. 

In 1923 the Central Bank of California (formerly known as the Auburn 
Savings Bank) established a branch office in Newcastle and one in Truckee, 
Neveda County. 



HISTORY OK PLACER COUNTY 281 

This completes the list of banks in Placer County. They have gradually 
increased their total resources until at the present time they have a total 
of over $7,836,413.23, which is rather fair for a county with an approximate 
population of 20,000 people. The banks in business at the present time are 
as follows : Placer County Bank, at Auburn, with a branch at Newcastle ; 
the Bank of Lincoln, at Lincoln; Roseville Banking Company, at Roseville; 
the First National Bank of Auburn, at Auburn ; Central Bank of California, 
at Auburn, with branches at Colfax, Truckee and Newcastle ; Bank of 
Loomis, at Loomis ; Bank of Western Placer, at Lincoln ; the First National 
Bank, at Roseville ; and the Railroad National Bank, at Roseville. 

There are, in addition to the banks, several financial institutions which 
add to the banking strength of the county. First of these is the Newcastle 
Building and Loan Association, which has been in operation for over thirty- 
three years. Another is the Central California Corporation, organized in 
1923 by the directors of the First National Bank group, to handle such 
business as could not be handled under the banking laws and yet which 
might be profitable. Then there is the Thrift Bank at Roseville, organized 
in 1923 for the purpose of handling small loans. 

The big increase in the number of banks in Placer County is evidence 
of the rapid growth of this county, whose resources are many and varied. 
In the west end of the county we have the railroad shops and general 
farming. Around Lincoln will be found cattle, sheep, wheat, and some 
fruit, with a pottery for the manufacture of clay products and a cannery for 
the preserving of fruits. The main industry of Rocklin is the granite quar- 
ries. Loomis, Penryn, and Newcastle are all fruit-shipping points, the latter 
place being the largest shipper of deciduous fruits in the State. Auburn, 
the county seat, is also a fruit-shipping point and a distributing point for 
the Forest Hill Divide. Colfax, too, is a fruit-shipping point. Mining and 
lumber still contribute to the resources of Placer, but do not affect the 
banking totals as they did in the by-gone days. Gold scales, so far as 
Placer County is concerned, are a curiosity now found mostly in museums. 

While it is true that Placer County does not reach the peak of good 
times occasionally found in other counties, it is also true that she does not 
reach the depths of depression. This is due to the variegated nature of 
the many industries within the county, and within the fruit section especially, 
from the fact that orchards are planted to many varieties. This makes for 
better credit risks, and better credit risks make for better banks. That is the 
reason why the banks of Placer County are numbered among the strong 
financial institutions of the State. 

Officers and Directors of Various Placer County Banks 

Placer County Bank — Auburn, Newcastle : Alden Anderson, president ; 
W. J. Wilson, vice-president; George McAulay, vice-president; H. S. Clegg, 
cashier; E. S. Birdsall, assistant cashier; A. F. Sandrock, assistant cashier; 
W. C. Hetland, assistant cashier ; F. S. Stevens, Joseph Johnson, H. E. Butler. 

The Bank of Lincoln — Lincoln: A. J. Gladding, president; B. C. Musser, 
vice-president; J. A. Bannister, cashier; Amos Siefert, assistant cashier; 
Alden Anderson, J. B. De Golyer, H. Andresen Jr., Kate Haenny, W. V. Hayt. 

Roseville Banking Company — Roseville: J. A. Hill, president; Alden 
Anderson, vice-president ; T. H. Kelsey, cashier ; T. H. Boswell, assistant 
cashier; E. H. Crown, D. J. Schellhous, A. B. McRae, J. H. Smart, F. A. 
Fiddyment, W. K. Doyle. 



282 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

The First National Bank of Auburn — Auburn: J. E. Walsh, president; 
Robert A. Peers, vice-president ; W. F. Jacobs, vice-president ; G. W. Brun- 
dage, cashier; J. G. Walsh, assistant cashier; P. G. Oehler, assistant cashier; 
L. Huntley, H. T. Dyer, S. G. Watts. 

Central Bank of California — Auburn, Colfax, Truckee, Newcastle: J. E. 
Walsh, president; Robert A. Peers, vice-president; G. W. Brundage, cashier; 
J. G. Walsh, assistant cashier'; P. G. Oehler, assistant cashier; A. C. Weaver, 
assistant cashier; J. F. Lange, assistant cashier; C. B. White, assistant cash- 
ier ; L. Huntley, assistant cashier ; C. H. Slade. 

Bank of Loomis — Loomis : James J. Brennan, president; S. C. Day, 
vice-president: J. J. Callison, vice-president; E. D. Dunton, cashier; F. C. 
Bock, assistant cashier; James J. Brennan, Jr., assistant cashier; J. L. Nagle, 

E. L. Rippey, H. N. Hansen, E. F. Eckhardt. 

Bank of Western Placer — Lincoln: F. C. Crosby, president; W. M. 
Sparks, Jr., vice-president and cashier; J. H. Coulter, assistant cashier; H. S. 
Williamson, W. D. Ingram, G. W. Brundage. 

The First National Bank of Roseville — Roseville : F. A. Fiddyment, 
president; J. H. Smart, vice-president; G. C. Brooks, cashier; J. A. Hill, 

F. L. Farlow, A. G. Wolf, Joe Royer, M. W. Priest, B. Huskinson. 

The Railroad National Bank of Roseville — Roseville : Geo. W. Peltier, 
president ; C. A. Fogus, vice-president ; W. A. Clark, vice-president ; G. P. 
DeKay, vice-president; I. LeRoy Burns, cashier; T. G. Schuster, assistant 
cashier. 



CHAPTER XVII 

"PACIFIC SERVICE" IN PLACER COUNTY 

By H. M. COOPER, 
Manager, Drum Division, Pacific Gas & Electric Company. 

The extensive system of canals, ditches and pipe lines of the Pacific 
Gas & Electric Company in Placer County today is largely the outgrowth 
of the ditch systems constructed in the early fifties to supply water for 
placer and hydraulic mining. At that time the rush to appropriate water 
from rivers and creeks to wash the gold from the gravel was second only 
to the quest for the gold itself. The history of water and power in Placer 
County is so closely associated with that of its northern neighbor, Nevada 
County, that it is impossible to record them separately, as the early develop- 
ments were made to serve both counties. 

By the summer of 1853 there were three principal water companies 
whose claims were more or less in conflict, and a constant succession of 
exciting events, including lawsuits, counter claims and quarrels over water 
rights and rights of way, resulted. In 1854 this condition reached a crisis, 
and the heads of the three companies finally got together in order to con- 
solidate their interests and merged into one organization, the name of 
which, if somewhat ungainly, reflected the individuality of the three com- 
ponents, the name being the Rock Creek, Deer Creek & South Yuba Canal 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 283 

Company. This organization was destined to remain intact, expanding and 
enlarging from time to time, eventually becoming the South Yuba Water 
Company and finally, in 1905, after fifty years' existence, joining with other 
properties as an essential part of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. 

One of the first steps taken by the old South Yuba Water Company 
was the storing of water. During the winter and spring months the South 
Yuba was a roaring mountain torrent, but after the middle of summer the 
flow which could be diverted practically ceased, and it was realized that 
new sources of supply must be obtained. Accordingly, the higher fastnesses 
of the Sierra were invaded in order to make locations for possible reservoir 
sites, necessary if a continuous supply to the mines was to be maintained. 

In 1851 a location had been made in the South Yuba Gorge; but the 
difficulties, both natural and financial, were at that time considered insur- 
mountable and the project was abandoned. This was near the site of the 
present Spaulding Dam, completed by the Pacific Gas & Electric Company 
in 1919, and which now towers to a height of 275 feet above the bed-rock of 
the Yuba River. 

In 1882 the old company completed Lake Fordyce Dam, which was at 
that time the largest reservoir in the State, and shortly thereafter built 
a number of other reservoirs of smaller capacity. 

In addition to the properties of the South Yuba Water Company, there 
was the Bear River Ditch, extending from a point on Bear River, near its 
confluence with the Greenhorn, to a point near Newcastle, and thence 
through smaller ditches to the mines. This ditch was owned by several 
companies before 1876, when it was purchased by E. Birdsall. 

The practical exhaustion of the placer mines about that time, and the 
passage of the famous "debris" law, stopping the hydraulic mining, forced 
many people to seek other means of livelihood ; and in Placer County 
horticulture came to the front. The demand for water as the country be- 
came settled finally became greater than the Birdsall Company could supply 
during the summer months, as it had no storage dams and was entirely 
dependent upon the natural flow of Bear River. 

The South Yuba Water Company had by that time built a number of 
storage reservoirs, including Fordyce, Meadow Lake, Sterling and Cascade. 
The debris act left the South Yuba Water Company without a market for 
its plentiful supply of water, while the Birdsall Company, on the other 
hand, had a growing demand but little water to sell. This condition natur- 
ally suggested a merger of the two properties, and accordingly in 1890 the 
South Yuba purchased the Birdsall interests and began a systematic devel- 
opment of the irrigation system. 

The increasing demand for irrigation water, necessitating increased 
ditch and reservoir capacity, resulted in the reconstruction of the Boardman 
Ditch from Bear Valley to Gold Run, originally built in 1865 ; and from 
that point a new distributing system was built to the fruit belt, a distance 
of sixty miles. This was in the early nineties. 

About this time hydro-electric power-generation attracted the attention 
of engineers; and in 1902 the Central California Electric Company, a sub- 
sidiary of the South Yuba Water Company, completed the Alta Power 
House, with a capacity of 2667 horse-power. This was the first hydro- 
electric plant of importance in Placer County. It was operated in conjunc- 
tion with the smaller plants at Auburn and Newcastle, the latter having 
been placed in commission in 1897. 



284 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

In 1905 the South Yuba Water Company was taken over by the Pacific 
Gas & Electric Company, and plans were started at once for extensive 
development of the water system for the generation of electric power. Sur- 
veys were immediately made; but the San Francisco disaster of 1906 and 
the financial depression which followed caused a postponement of activities, 
and it was not until the fall of 1912 that active work on the new develop- 
ment was started. 

The season in the summit region of the Sierra Nevada is short, and 
work was rushed at Spaulding to complete the construction of a foundation 
dam and flume to take care of the flood waters. During that winter of 
1912-1913 a tunnel was bored through 4400 feet of rock in the South Yuba 
Canyon at Spaulding, into Bear Valley ; while lower down, below the snow- 
line, the Bear River Canal from Colfax to Clipper Gap was enlarged in 
anticipation of the increased volume of water that would be released when 
the new Spaulding Dam should fill. At the same time, construction work 
was started upon a power plant in the Bear River Gorge, nine miles below 
Spaulding, whence 110 miles of steel-tower lines would convey the power 
to the company's main high-tension distributing station at Cordelia. 

Work over the entire development was resumed in the spring of 1913, 
and such rapid progress was made that by November of that year the great 
dam had been constructed to a height of 225 feet above the stream- bed, 
and Drum Power Plant, in the Bear River Gorge, began grinding out 33,000 
horse-power of electric energy. An additional generating unit, bringing the 
total installed capacity Up to 50,000 horse-power, has since been added. 
Future plans call for a still greater enlargement of this great plant. 

During 1913 preliminary work was also done upon two links of a pro- 
posed chain of additional power developments below Drum, through which 
it was planned to take advantage of the difference in elevation between 
Spaulding and a point in Auburn Ravine below Auburn. Two plants have 
been completed. One of these, called the Halsey Plant, named after N. W. 
Halsey, a former director of the company, is located in Christian Valley 
near Clipper Gap ; the other, named the Wise Plant, after James H. Wise, 
former assistant general manager of the company, is located in Auburn 
Ravine, just below the city of Auburn. Each of these additional develop- 
ments has the capacity to contribute 16,500 horse-power to the company's 
hydro-electric generating and distributing system. There have been con- 
structed, also, two plants below Spaulding Dam, with a combined capacity 
of 6400 horse-power. 

To make these additional developments possible, and to add largely 
to the kilowatt-hour capacity of the South Yuba-Bear River system, it 
has been found necessary to twice raise the height of Eake Spaulding Dam. 
The second stage was started in 1916, when the dam was raised from 225 
to 260 feet above stream-level. The last raise, to the present height of 
275 feet, was made in 1919. 

Eake Spaulding is now the largest storage reservoir of the "Pacific 
Service" system and has a capacity of 74,487 acre-feet, or 3,244,653,720 
cubic feet, or 24,271,695,360 gallons. This amount of water would supply 
the city of San Francisco, at her natural rate of consumption, for 606 
days. The flooded area when the lake is full is 694 acres. The crest of 
the dam itself is 4875 feet above sea-level. Eake Spaulding has a catch- 
ment area of 121 square miles. There are nineteen other storage reservoirs in 
what is known as Drum Division, nearly all of which empty into Spaulding. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 285 

These have an aggregate capacity of 40,600 acre-feet, making the total 
storage capacity of the South Yuba water system 115,087 acre-feet, or 
5,013,189,720 cubic feet, or 37,501,263,360 gallons. 

The water from the dam is conveyed by tunnel into Bear Valley, down 
which it flows in open canal to the Drum Forebay reservoir on a ridge 
above Bear River Gorge. From this point it is shot down a 1375-foot 
steep to the Drum Power House ; and after doing its duty by turning the 
water-wheels, it escapes into the Bear River again. Lower down the 
valley, at a point about a mile above Colfax, the water of the Bear River 
is diverted into a canal which marks the upper end of an irrigation system 
that takes care of thousands of acres of deciduous-fruit lands in Placer 
County. Incidentally, this water serves to operate the Halsey and Wise 
Power Houses. 

Lake Spaulding has long been known to sportsmen, for there is excel- 
lent fishing to be had in the lake, and the hills abound with game; but 
it has been left to "Pacific Service" to establish the Spaulding region as 
one of California's scenic wonders. During the early construction days 
engineers and others made liberal use of the overland highway that runs 
between Colfax and Truckee, for the road into Spaulding leaves that 
highway at Emigrant Gap and winds down the hillside that overlooks 
Bear Valley. One day it was discovered that by climbing a few feet of 
rock at the roadside, near the turn, one could obtain a complete sweep of 
the whole territory, and that the panorama presented to the vision was 
one of exceeding beauty ; and so the idea suggested itself, of establishing 
a lookout station where the traveler might rest from his journey and at 
the same time enjoy a magnificent panorama of the Sierra. The lookout 
station was established in the summer of 1916, and its popularity is attested 
by the scores of names that are written in the visitor's book each day 
of the all too brief summer season. 

At the present time, work is under way on raising the dam at Lake 
Fordyce, situated on Fordyce Creek, seven miles northeast of Cisco. The 
first dam was built there in 1873; and the present dam dates from 1881, 
although it has been reinforced since that time. The reservoir created by 
the present dam, which is ninety-two feet in height, stores 20,000 acre- 
feet of water. This dam is to be raised to 139 feet, and will then store 
47,000 acre-feet of water for power and irrigation. 

At Drum Power House a second pipe line or penstock is being laid, 
and below the power house a reservoir or afterbay is being built in Bear 
River, which will regulate the flow of that stream. 

It is estimated that the improvements now under way on the entire 
development will increase the electric generating capacity by 25,000,000 
kilowatt-hours annually. Water for irrigation will be increased for at 
least nine months of the year by about forty-five cubic feet per second, or 
1800 miners' inches. 

Summing up the activities of "Pacific Service" in Placer County : 
The company operates six hydro-electric power plants, a system of irriga- 
tion canals extending from Colfax to Roseville, and water-distribution sys- 
tems in Colfax, Auburn, Newcastle, Loomis and Rocklin. A network of 
electric power lines covers the fruit belt, furnishing electricity for power 
and domestic uses. The principal office of the company is in Auburn, with 
local offices in Colfax and Roseville. Over 200 employees are required to 
operate the system in Placer County alone. 



286 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 



CHAPTER XVIII 

PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND FREE LIBRARIES 
Elementary Schools in the Late Fifties 

Below is presented a tabulated summary of the elementary schools of 
Placer County for the years 1856 and 1857, together with the number of 
children in attendance between the ages of fourteen and eighteen years. 

1856 1857 1856 1857 

Auburn 127 90 Brought forward 422 507 

Gold Hill 46 58 Mount Pleasant 34 30 

Iowa Hill 90 100 Secret Ravine 85 82 

Michigan Bluff 27 71 Illinoistown 35 21 

Ophir 29 38 Dry Creek 22 81 

Dutch Flat 34 68 Wisconsin Hill 21 36 

Yankee Jims 49 68 Todds Valley 60 

Coon Creek 20 14 Rattlesnake 40 

Carryforward 422 507 Total 619 857 

There were fifteen teachers employed in these fifteen schools. 

In 1857 the public money paid from all sources was as follows : Auburn, 
$706.92; Gold Hill, $133.39; Ophir, $218; Mt. Pleasant, $190.05; Coon Creek, 
$57.99; Dry Creek, $63.80; Secret Ravine, $475.15; Illinoistown, $98.63; 
Yankee Jims, $267.90; Iowa Hill, $541.04; Wisconsin Hill, $84.86; Michigan 
City (Bluff), $150.92. 

Placer County Schools in 1881 

Following is a tabulation of county school statistics for the year 1881. 
White children between five and seventeen years of age are included, in 
addition to a few negroes and Indians : 

Boys Girls Total Teachers 

Alta 30 28 58 1 

Auburn 123 137 257 4 

Bath 18 21 39 

Blue Canyon 9 13 22 

Butcher Ranch 11 9 20 

Central 17 23 40 

Christian Valley 27/ 28 55 

Clipper Gap 9 13 22 

Colfax 116 87 203 

Consolidated 19 17 36 

Coon Creek 9 12 21 

Damascus 15 16 31 

Daneville 19 17 36 

Dry Creek 7 10 17 

Dutch Flat Ill 94 205 

Emigrant Gap 9 12 21 

Excelsior 24 17 41 

Fair View 5 9 14 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 287 

Forest Hill 80 71 151 2 

Franklin 16 19 35 1 

Gold Hill 25 17 42 1 

Gold Run 37 39 76 1 

Iowa Hill 67 58 125 2 

Lincoln 55 50 105 2 

Lone Star 20 12 32 1 

Michigan Bluff 40 38 78 1 

Mount Pleasant 22 22 44 1 

Mount Vernon 9 13 22 1 

New England Mills 33 35 68 1 

Newcastle 38 32 70 1 

Ophir 69 68 137 2 

Pleasant Grove . . . . 1 

Penryn 63 65 128 2 

Rock Creek 43 34 77 2 

Rocklin 105 92 197 2 

Roseville 48 55 103 2 

Sheridan 30 38 68 1 

Smithville 19 18 37 1 

Spring Garden 16 5 21 1 

Sunny South 10 13 23 1 

Todds Valley : 17 11 28 1 

Union 10 . 14 24 1 

Vallev View 22 18 40 1 

Wisconsin Hill 23 19 42 1 

Yankee Jims 16 20 36 1 

Total 1511 1436 2947 60 

That year there were sixty teachers employed in these forty-five school 
districts. Twenty-one were male teachers and thirty-nine, female. The 
schools were in session an average of 6.87 months. Now the law compels 
ten months' attendance except for extraordinary reasons, such as deep 
snow, floods, and epidemics. The largest school was in Auburn, with four 
teachers and 257 pupils. The total value of lots, schoolhouses, libraries and 
apparatus was $65,118, of which Auburn was credited with $7371, Dutch 
Flat with $9250, and Roseville with $2150. Auburn received in public moneys 
$2654 and paid out $2612; Colfax received $2712, and disbursed $2713; Dutch 
Flat received $2092, and paid out $2089; Roseville received $1290, and paid 
out $1290; and Lincoln received $1541, and paid out $1404. 

These totals and figures, when compared with those given in the table 
for 1856 and 1857, above, show the changes made in the population and 
school attendance of the mountain and valley districts after the cessation of 
hydraulic mining in the county, resulting in the lapsing of school districts 
in the mountain sections, and a corresponding increase in schools, pupils and 
teachers in the valley sections. 

Present Organization of the Elementary Schools 

A further comparison of the above data with the subjoined statistics 
taken from the records in the office of the county superintendent of schools. 
will show the same tendency still present in the schools of the count} - . 

In the year 1923 there were 44 school districts, employing 116 teachers, 
of whom Roseville had 28; Auburn Union, 10: Dutch Flat, 1 : Lincoln Union. 
10; Loomis Union, 8; Colfax, 4; and Rocklin, 5. The largest school district 
was Roseville, with 987 pupils. Auburn was next, with 371, while Alta Vista 



288 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

had 93 ; Lincoln, 209 ; Dutch Flat, 15 ; Colfax, 102, and Todds Valley, 6. The 
whole county had 3250 pupils in 1923. 

The total moneys received for the elementary schools of the county in 
1923 was $293,747.44, of which Roseville is credited with $67,506.70 ; Auburn 
with $30,452.04; Alta Vista with $6658.16, and Dutch Flat with $2102.07. 
This takes into account the funds from all sources, including balance on 
hand and State and county school funds, etc. 

In the forty-five school districts of 1881, changes have taken place as 
follows : Bath, Butcher Ranch, Damascus, Fair View, Pleasant Grove, 
Smithville, Sunny South, Wisconsin Hill, and Yankee Jims have lapsed ; 
and Michigan Bluff has been suspended, but may be again opened as a dis- 
trict. The following districts have been consolidated : Rock Creek, Mount 
Vernon and Long Valley with Auburn Union ; Mount Pleasant and Dane- 
ville with Lincoln Union, and Franklin, Rock Springs, Placer, and Citrus 
Colony with Loomis Union. 

Alta Vista, in the eastern part of Auburn, with three teachers, has been 
organized as a new district, as have also Ackerman, Alpha, Valley View, 
Meadow Vista, Fair Oaks, Columbia, Caporn, Drum, Tahoe Lake, Riverdale, 
and Rosedale. A few have been united and called joint districts, and a few 
are called summer schools (no school running during the deep snows), mak- 
ing in all forty-four districts. 

An improved feature of our schools is the union school, the first having 
been formed by the joining of Long Valley with Auburn in 1918. Now 
three large motor busses bring the pupils to the well-equipped union schools. 
A large motor bus also brings high-school pupils to the union high school. 

There is also what is called "rural supervision" on certain subjects 
selected by the superintendent, special teachers going to the aid of the 
regular teachers-. 

A few of the recently built elementary schools will here be briefly 
described. In 1915 Auburn put up a fine two-story-and-basement structure, 
of terra cotta brick from the Lincoln pottery, strongly reinforced with steel 
beams, the basement being of concrete. There is a large auditorium, with 
a dining room and general-utility room below. The building has oil-burning 
heaters and air ventilators and is an up-to-date structure, costing $47,000. 

Another late structure is the Lincoln school building. It is a large one- 
story tile-built structure, with large auditorium. 

Rocklin has recently built a one-story substantial building of brick, 
which takes the place of two wooden structures. 

Newcastle recently built her third school building, the material for its 
walls being concrete. The people of the town are thoroughly up-to-date. 
Recently sixty-five men turned out, with eight or ten tractors and scrapers, 
and greatly beautified the knoll on which the school building rests, leveling 
the grounds and making tennis courts, etc. 

Roseville, in addition to two large wooden buildings, has recently put up 
a large one-story tile building for elementary-school purposes. 

Colfax has a large two-story cement structure, fire-proof and roomy. 

New England Mills, a small district, has recently put up a neat tile 
structure of two rooms. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 289 

OUR HIGH SCHOOLS 
Placer Union High School 

The Placer Union High School is the recognized Placer County High 
School. In 1901 the Placer County High School was organized. In 1914 
it was reorganized and made the Placer Union High School. The district 
now includes the greater part of Placer County. The Placer County High 
School was an outgrowth from the Sierra Normal College, which was 
founded in 1882. 

Placer Union High School is, situated on a commanding eminence in the 
city of Auburn. Its location is much admired by tourists and others, for 
its natural beauty. The present main building was erected during the year 
1906-1907. It is a substantial brick structure consisting of twenty-two rooms. 
In 1914 a large wooden gymnasium was erected. Minor buildings have 
been erected on the grounds from time to time. The present grounds include 
only about three acres. The school is very much in need of playgrounds 
and athletic fields. Indeed, the question of securing more room for the 
expansion of the institution is now one of its pressing problems. 

The Placer Union High School is supported by public taxation. It is 
a public school, and therefore the requisite books, chemicals and apparatus in 
general are supplied with money obtained through taxation. 

The school now has a faculty of twenty teachers, and on its rolls are 
the names of more than 300 students. Its curriculum offers, among many 
other subjects, four years in English, four years in Latin, four years in 
French, and four years in Spanish. 

Over a period of twenty-four years students of the institution have 
occupied a prominent place in athletics and physical culture among similar 
institutions in California and Nevada. Many cups and trophies representing 
their skill and courage have become the permanent property of the school. 
Its athletic history dates back to February 22, 1900, when the first athletic 
team organized in the school took the field against the Sacramento High 
School. Football of the old "five yards in four downs" type was the game, 
and Placer emerged the victor by a score of 10 to 5 in a spectacular game 
at Recreation Park in Auburn. This team that started the school's great 
athletic career with a victory was coached by E. S. Birdsall, Auburn banker, 
then a young graduate of the University of California, where he had earned 
his major sport letter in football. J. F. Pullen, now a judge on the superior 
bench in Sacramento County, played center on the team. A ninety-yard run 
by Fletcher, and the accurate goal-kicking of Hawver, were features of the 
contest. 

On December 8, 1901, a return game was played at Sacramento, Placer 
again winning by a score of 12 to 5. Before Sacramento was able to score 
a victory over Placer for the first time, in 1906, Placer had won seven 
straight games. The final triumph in 1905 was the cause of great celebra- 
tion, as Placer won over great obstacles. The victorious aggregation of 
1905 was composed of Kenneth Adams, center; H. Simpson and W. Allen, 
guards ; R. Berry and A. Laing, tackles ; C. McGuire and A. Wills, ends ; 
F. Christy, quarter-back; Tom Scadden and Fred Tuttle, half-backs, and 
Edgar Freeman, full-back. 

While the football team was winning recognition, the track and field 
team of the school was making great strides; and Orrin J. Lowell, now dis- 
trict attorney of Placer Countv, won the initial first place scored in the 

10 



290 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

Sacramento Valley Interscholastic League competition by capturing the mile 
run in 1902. In 1904, 1905 and 1906 the Placer track team captured the 
Sacramento Valley Interscholastic League team competition, and captured 
the first of many historic cups now in the possession of the school. All 
league meets were won away from home, a fact which gives to the posses- 
sion of the cup a greater meaning and value. The cup bears the names 
of Clayton McGuire, Ed Kendall, Ed Lardner, Elon Flint, Clark Gester, 
Edgar Freeman, Roy Cowles, Tom Scadden, J. W. Barnicott, Lee Tudsbury, 
Roy Peterson, Clifford Predom and William Kayo. In the final year, through 
the efforts of Orrin Lowell, then in college, George Powell and Clyde Healey, 
California heroes, spent several weeks in Auburn preparing the local team 
for its final victory on the cup. 

In 1907 the athletic honors of the school shifted to the girls, who had 
begun to play basketball, then a comparatively new game to California. 
The girls that year won a cup emblematic of the championship of the Sac- 
ramento Valley Interscholastic League. The cup bears the names of Aimee 
Simpson, Marguerite Seavey, Gladys Lukens, Adell Stone, Mio Bell, Anita 
Power and Effa Lardner. 

After a series of football defeats by Sacramento, Al Hartley built up 
another winning team in 1909, which defeated Sacramento, 12 to 0. Par- 
ticipating in this victory were : Buchanan, center ; Hungerford and Ban- 
croft, guards ; Lee and Madden, tackles ; Feeley and Wilson, ends ; D. Hotch- 
kiss, quarter-back ; John Hotchkiss and Conroy, half-backs, and Green, 
full-back. 

At this juncture the Placer youths in the high school began to enter 
while of a smaller average weight and stature, and for a succession of years 
the athletic team met with a series of reverses in football, Rugby, basketball, 
baseball and track work ; but at the same time they began to gain great 
glory in another line of physical endeavor — military tactics and training. 
Under the direction of Fred S. Roumage, National Guard officer, and later 
captain over in France in the late war, the Placer athletes won a score of 
trophies from 1911 to 1915 for military prowess. In each of those years 
Placer had the best rifle shots in the State of California, and also won many 
trophies in drilling competitions. In 1914 Placer entered the "Class C" 
rifle-shooting competition, winning honors for the entire United States in 
that division, and being advanced to "Class A" in one year. By a process 
of elimination throughout the United States, the contest was narrowed down 
to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Auburn, California, United States army officers 
preparing the conditions for the shooting and acting as the official judges 
in the contest, and in 1915 the team took third in the "Class A" competition. 

Under the direction of A. T. Colwell, an alumnus of the school, trained 
by Roumage, Placer attained the acme of success in shooting by winning 
the national shooting trophy for public schools in "Class A" in 1916. The 
members of the team who won this great national honor were : E. Monro, 
F. Musso, R. Conroy, W. C. Huntley, Ed Oest, G. Schuster, A. Cunningham, 
and J. C. Schuster. 

The year 1916 also saw the inception of a definite scheme of physical 
training installed in the high school, with Earl Crabbe, former California 
track captain, as director. In that year the first leg of the University of 
Nevada Interscholastic League cup was won in a meet at Reno, Nevada. 
The athletes participating for Placer were: L. Burns, L. Peart, W. C. 
Schuster, M. Williams, E. McGrary, A. Cunningham, and E. Bell. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 291 

At the same time rapid strides were made in basketball, and Placer 
became a prominent figure in Northern California basketball meets, among 
both the boys' and girls' teams. The championship of Northern California 
was won by a girls' team composed of Irene Brye, Clara Brown, Ruth 
James, Madeline Sheridan, Violet Knoff, Virginia Fulton, Ruth Slade, Kath- 
erine Kemper, and Arlene Michael. 

Then came the war-time period, during which the school contributed 
largely to the armed forces of the nation. In 1920 athletics were resumed on 
a systematic basis, and Placer won the final leg of the University of Nevada 
trophy, bringing the cup to Auburn permanently. The cup was finally won 
by the following pointmakers : Michaels, Al Saladana, Brennan, Beck, Baker, 
Rogers, Blair, Lewis, Whittemore, Galmerine, and Vernon Van Riper. 

This victory wore out the Auburn welcome at Nevada, and the school 
joined the California Interscholastic Federation, making a creditable show- 
ing in track and basketball, winning the subleague track title five times 
and the unlimited basketball title twice, in addition to capturing weight 
divisions in basketball. 

The 1923-1924 season resulted in the Placer teams winning the unlim- 
ited basketball championship of the federation from seventy-three other 
schools, losing only to Berkeley in the State semi-finals. The members of 
this team were Captain John Fain, Ted Roumage, Kimball Dyer, Homer 
Dickson, Benton Barnwell, Robert Ford, Francis Reeves, and Lathrop Hunt- 
ley. Berkeley later won the State championship from Fresno in the final, 
after defeating Placer in the semi-final, 25 to 13. 

A trophy emblematic of the Northern section championship was won, 
and the same year the track team won the Central California High School 
Athletic League meet at Davis, and the cup given by the California Aggies. 
The following won the points to score the victory : Capt. Calvin Collins, 
Fain, Colt, Desmond, McBride, Baker, Dickson, Huntley, Manuel Ferry, 
Leland, Hughes, Dyer, and M. Reeves. 

The Placer Union High School is noted throughout Northern California 
for the efficiency of the work done. The scholastic standards maintained are 
high, and the graduates of the school enter universities and normal schools 
and accomplish the work therein with ease. The school maintains not only 
a fine academic department, but also a most thorough vocational depart- 
ment. Commercial subjects, auto mechanics, horticulture, and wood-work 
are thoroughly taught from a practical standpoint. The moral standards 
of the school are also high. The people in the district are loyal to the 
school, and take pride in the achievements of its graduates. 

Roseville Union High School 

The Roseville Union High School includes in its contributing territory 
the elementary school districts of Rocklin, Excelsior, Riverdale, Center 
Joint, Dry Creek Joint, Roseville, Alpha and Rosedale. Loomis contributes 
some pupils also. The school was organized in 1912. The main building 
was erected in 1915 ; and the dedicatory ceremonies took place on January 
16, 1916. The structure is of pressed brick from the Lincoln pottery. It is 
of classic design, built on lines adapted to the convenient application of the 
most modern school methods, and contains an auditorium with a seating 
capacity of about 400, and modern equipment for heating, lighting and 
ventilation. It is by far the best high-school building in the county. 




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HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 293 

The grounds are ample for present needs, but enlargement is contem- 
plated. Three lots were recently purchased just outside of the main 
grounds, on which the Smith-Hughes carpentry department of the school 
will be located. A temporary gymnasium will soon be erected ; and an 
auto-mechanic shop, machine works, and carpentry-shop building, all mod- 
ern and up to date, will follow. The shops now in use are among the 
best-equipped in the schools of Northern California. The chemistry labor- 
atory and other laboratories are likewise well equipped, as are also the 
departments of arts, music and home economics. The school library is 
growing fast. 

The modern foreign languages taught are the French and the Spanish ; 
and Latin is also included in the curriculum. The school also teaches some 
of the elementary subjects when the students' work seems to have been 
neglected in those branches, and the student is ambitious and willing to 
make up prior defective work. Physical education is encouraged, for all 
students: For boys, football, basketball, track and field athletics, baseball, 
swimming and tennis ; for girls, training in aesthetic dancing, intramural 
basketball, tennis, and track and field athletics. The school holds the fol- 
lowing cups : The adjutant general's trophy for the best-drilled companies 
at the Del Paso Park encampment in 1922 ; the trophy cup for cadets' 
manual-of-arms drill, presented by the Bowman Auto Supply Company in 
1922; the Kimball-Upson Cup for excellency in drill by high-school cadets 
at the Sacramento encampment in 1920; and the California State Fair trophy 
for clay-modeling in 1923. The school has made for a number of years an 
extensive exhibit at the State Fair. In this respect it has outdone the other 
high schools of Placer County. A large number of first and second-place 
ribbons, as well as grand-prize medals, sweepstake ribbons, cash prizes, and 
certificates of award, have come to the school, its departments, and its 
students. The school believes very strongly in this type of publicity for 
its work, and not only will continue to emphasize it, but hopes to con- 
siderably increase the scope of it at' the next State Fair. 

The typewriting department, during the past two years, has won many 
medals and certificates of merit for that branch of work. The work of the 
drafting department has received recognition also. 

The drafting department of the school has done much work of a prac- 
tical and public nature, under the proper instructor, in the planning of city 
parks, designing of buildings and front steps, mapping of grounds, and 
charting of highway tree-planting, and along many other practical lines. 
The plant-propagation and green-house work has received recognition away 
from home. 

The school has what is called a "Junior Chamber of Commerce." This 
body operates directly and indirectly with the Count} - Chamber of Com- 
merce and other local organizations which work for the betterment of the 
community. 

There is also an auto-mechanical department, giving instruction in the 
repair of autos and tractors. 

All the departments of the school are actively at work, and the school 
has been highly complimented by the university examiner of schools and 
others. 

The first principal of the high school was W. H. Masters, who served 
five years; the second was A. G. Grant, who also served five years; anil 
the third is E. W. Locher, who has served two years. The present faculty 



294 HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 

of the school ranks high among schools of like standing. There are twenty 
day teachers and six night teachers. About 305 regular pupils are enrolled 
in the day school at the present time; and about 250 more are enrolled in 
various classifications in the Southern Pacific apprentice school, night 
school, and special classes. The alumni list of the school totals over 200. 

Lincoln High School 

The Lincoln Union High School, at Lincoln, Cal., is a fine one-story 
building, with large, roomy, cool halls. The main building was erected 
in 1910 by the Gladding-McBean Company of Lincoln. The material used 
is tile, and the building has a tile roof. The school is provided with an 
annex, used for manual training and domestic science; and there is also 
a gymnasium. Public-school funds provide for a library, and for chemical 
and other supplies and apparatus. 

There are eight teachers employed, and the pupils are 111 in number. 
Lincoln and the surrounding districts compose the territory supporting the 
school. The languages taught are Latin and Spanish. Athletic sports, such 
as basketball, baseball, track and tennis, are encouraged. 

The school is accredited by the State University; and while it is a small 
school, there being no near-by towns to contribute to its attendance, the 
people of Lincoln are proud of it, as well they may be. 

OUR FREE LIBRARIES 
The Auburn Free Library 

Our three public libraries are all built under aid of the Carnegie Found- 
ation. The Free Public Library of Auburn was built in 1908. It is located on 
elevated ground, and consists of one -story above ground and a basement 
containing furnace room, coal room, and an extra stack room ; besides, 
there are three other rooms used for office space, lecture room, and other pur- 
poses. The lower story is of concrete, and the upper story is of white 
sand brick. 

The library contains 8000 volumes, indexed according to the Spofford 
system — the same used at the National Library at Washington, D. C, and 
our State Capitol Library at Sacramento. • 

Visitors per month average 1147; books loaned per month, 925; period- 
icals loaned per month, 134; books mended per month, 50. 

For many years before 1908, Auburn locally supported a free library. 

The officers of the library are Mrs. Emma J. Prewett, president ; W. B. 
Lardner, vice-president ; Mrs. Harriet Deming, secretary ; Mrs. Freda Cham- 
berlain ; and Orrin J. Lowell. The librarian is Mrs. Madeline Kriechbaum. 

The Roseville Free Library 

The Free Library at Roseville is a fine-appearing one-story building, 
with a fine basement. It is located on high ground and shows to advantage. 
It is made of pressed brick from the Lincoln pottery. The new library was 
finished on October 12, 1912; but the library really began to function on 
February 3, 1912. A building was rented, a librarian was hired, and 1000 
books were purchased. At present the library has 5000 books. Roseville 
received $10,000 from the Andrew Carnegie Library Gift Fund. 

The present board of trustees are Warren T. Eich, Mrs. Cora Wood- 
bridge, Mrs. Hanna Wortell, Mrs. George Dixon, Mrs. Frank Cosgrove, 
secretary, and Miss Georgiana Willits, librarian. 



HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY 295 

The Lincoln Free Library 

The Lincoln Fr